Hätäkutsu de Hannes Vartiainen & Pekka Veikkolainen

The short film of the week by Minna Nurmi, programer for the Savonlinna international nature film festival (www.sinff.fi)

Hätäkutsu (Emergency calls) by Hannes Vartiainen & Pekka Veikkolainen. Documentary, 15′, 2013, Finland, prod. : Pohjankonna Oy

Storyline : Being human is a fragile and fleeting opportunity to experience life and the universe around us. In the face of overwhelming darkness all we can do is to rely on and find solace in one another. This film is based on authentic emergency calls and radio traffic.

Synopsis : Être humain est une opportunité fragile et furtive d’expérimenter la vie et l’univers autour de nous. Face à l’obscurité écrasante tout que nous pouvons faire afin d’être relié les uns aux autres, c’est de trouver la consolation de l’autre. Ce film est basé sur des appels au secours authentiques passés à la radio du traffic routier.

Emergency calls is an experimental, documentaric short film, based on authentic emergency calls and radio traffic. It reminds that being human is a fragile and fleeting opportunity to experience life and the universe around us. In the face of overwhelming darkness, all we can do is to rely on and find solace in one another.

I got enchanted by this film in 2013 when it came out on a film festival, where I was working as an intern. I found it a good example of how a short film has it´s unique ability to tell emotionally strong and important stories in a short format.

I find the film interesting in its way to dominate the visual content with its soundscape of authentic emergency calls and radio traffic. We hear emergencies of all kinds – from very personal to very universal ones. One of them is the sinking of M/S Estonia Ferry in the Baltic sea in 1994, that caused the death of more than 800 people. This huge national tragedy, that I remember from my childhood, experienced trough the authentic emergency calls, goes deep under my skin. Except fragility of life, it reminds also of the strength of nature, that we can not control. Most of us have experienced an emergency of some kind, which makes the film easy to identify with.

Dark frames between the collage of archive material, sea maps, natural phenomenons, human faces and documentaric material creates a rhythm that adapts to the emotional charge of the film. Even in the middle of the despair, there is always some humor. Unfortunately, the English translation is lacking some nuances of the expressions used in the recorded calls in Finnish.

Minna Nurmi

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