The trailer of this year’s Love & Anarchy festival is a breathtaking and beautiful ode to the power of feelings called Sydänten kieli [The Power of Hearts]. According to director Miikka Lommi the idea of the trailer arose from an observation: emotions are more powerful than words. In this interview the internationally known director speaks about what inspires him and reveals what kind of dog he would be, had he been born with four legs and a tail.
How would you describe the HIFF trailer?
I wanted to make a film as strong and diverse as the films on HIFF’s program. The trailer is , agonizing in a nice way. A film where the language is abstract and sentiments and feeling are the most important. I aimed for a stripped and honest feeling. I’m interested in a certain kind of rawness. If I were to direct a feature length movie, this is what it would look like.
Where did you draw inspiration for the trailer?
I am inspired by people. I am fascinated by eyes and voices. The trailer features many different persons I know from before, like the professional actors Sinikka Sokka, Vuokko Hovatta, Milka Ahlrooth, Malla Malmivaara. The attentive viewer can also catch [singer] Paula Vesala.
What inspired me was how people tend to avoid difficult subjects. People don’t speak about their problems and you are not allowed to show your feelings. Finns do speak, but things aren’t settled. Just like no-one ever felt like shit.
I was fascinated by the language that doesn’t exist. The language of the heart, the things we never let out. Feeling is love and anarchy. I wanted to give this language a name. The reason the language in the film is abstract is that speaking about feelings is completely foreign to many.
The trailer describes feelings as a language that everyone understands. What languages do you understand?
I understand Love and Anarchy fairly well. I have learnt to speak about feelings and I can scream as well. I can say compliments and order food in restaurants in Swedish.
In my next life I intend to speak Spanish. I love the way Spaniards speak about love. In that culture a man is a man and a woman is a woman. I identify with feminists, but in certain matters I’m a chauvinist.
What is your relationship to films?
My relationship is a love-hate relationship. I made my first short film at the age of 3. I have directed hundreds of music videos and commercials internationally – as well as art and fashion.
I have also directed award winning short films but somehow I’ve been avoiding feature-length films. Just a short while ago I got a feeling I’ll direct a feature film quite soon.
I don’t watch films very often. I don’t like happy endings and I don’t look for coming-of-age stories. I’m interested in emptiness and anxiety. Many people are suffering and many die alone. It’s horrible but it’s true.
My vision is to deal with subjects that I recognise: concrete, dreams, great love and unfair violence. Vanity is part of all life and it doesn’t need to be dramatized separately. That’s what our world is like if you just admit it.
Although I love fairytales and sweetness I think happiness is only an illusion. I wouldn’t want to try to teach a lesson through my films in a million years – I want to show the world from my point of view, as it looks to me.
What is your relationship with HIFF like?
I’ve managed to participate in the festival quite seldom. Last year I went to see a couple of films. The festival trailer has always interested me, and it has always been exquisite and thoroughly made.
What other films have you directed besides the HIFF 2013 trailer?
I have directed commercials since 1998. Internationally I’m known for my music videos. My breakthrough was in 2000 when I directed Freestyler for Bomfunk MC’s [a Finnish hip hop group].
My work includes around a hundred music videos for artist like The Rasmus, Dannii Minogue and Husky Rescue, and hundreds of commercials for big brands both in Finland and abroad.
My style is emotional and visual. I like to rage and provoke. I like to be sentimental and I encourage shedding a tear. I want my films to perplex and confuse. My intension is to make all my films memorable. I would like to direct a film where the protagonist feels pissed off.
The trailer’s production company is called Kennel Helsinki – what kind of a dog would you be if you had been born with four legs?
Kennel Helsinki produces commercials so it has nothing to do with dogs or any other animals. I have directed many dog breeds, cats, cows, birds, fish etc., though. If I were a dog I’d surely be a mongrel: angry and reckless, but always ready to cuddle.