Previously at the ICA - Films

The Song of the Scarlet Flower, Dir. Teuvo Tulio, 1938

The Song of the Scarlet Flower

16 Dec 201121 Dec 2011

Tulio's oldest surviving film follows a spoilt and arrogant young man, the son of a landowner, playing fast and loose with the affections of a number of young women. In fact, he's so busy seducing the women of the region that it's a wonder any actual farming gets done at all. But eventually he finds himself forced to face up to his social and sexual responsibilities. Tulio employs radiant cinematography depicting Finland with staggering beauty to conjure up an elemental tale of sexuality, landscape and of course his perennial obsession with the liberating anger of women.

Tulio is a Finnish national treasure but his films remain tragically unknown in the UK. The Song of the Scarlet Flower is one of four of his seminal works restored by the Finnish National Archive and screening in our Teuvo season. Specialising in the much-maligned genre of Melodrama and heavily influenced by Cukor, Lubitsch and Von Sternberg, his spectacular depictions of suffering and sex cast a deep shadow into the works of subsequent directors such as Aki Kaurismäki and Guy Maddin. As Finnish scholar Anu Koivunen explains, "Tulio was both an idealist and a producer of cheap films" which are at once cries for justice and hugely entertaining epics.

Dir. Teuvo Tulio, 1938, Finnish with English subs, 99 mins

Cast: Kaarlo Oksanen, Regina Linnanheimo, Mirjami, Kuosmanen, Nora Mäkinen

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