We spent the lazy Sunday afternoon in the Garden, in a pleasant talk with Finnish actor Jussi Vatane, led by festival selector Milena Zajović.
The Motovun audience had the opportunity to see the popular Finnish actor in the opening film Fallen Leaves by Aki Kaurismäki. On this occasion, he shared his enthusiasm for the festival atmosphere and talked about his experience working with the renowned Finnish director known for his love for filmstrip, minimal number of takes, and clear artistic vision with which he approaches his work. Although Kaurismäki isn’t a director who leaves much room for actor’s interventions or improvisation, Jussi expressed his satisfaction with the director’s care for his characters and stated that he has full trust in him. They also reminisced about some of Jussi’s older comic roles.
Commenting on the film, which follows the story of two lonely people in search of love and human connection, Vatanen also discussed the portrayal of the main character’s alcoholism, sharing his interpretation that it is an inevitable part of his solitary character. He said, “He built a barrier, just me and my thoughts, work, comics, and alcohol. When he meets a lovely woman at the karaoke, a crack appears in that lonely barrier. It’s interesting because then he has to decide – do I have the courage to move forward and break the barrier, or should I keep my solitary way of life to myself?”
He also referred to the war in Ukraine, noting how it would be impossible for Kaurismäki to make a film without commenting on the war. He sealed the conversation with a comment about the importance of the story in Fallen Leaves . “This film is so important that it’s a privilege to be with you and have the opportunity to screen it here and elsewhere. Although it’s a modest love story, it carries a lot of hope and warmth. These days, in this world, we need hope.”