New Nordic Cinema at Scandinavia House returns in a virtual format! Celebrate contemporary Nordic filmmaking with us from home in week-long sessions of contemporary feature films and documentaries. The eighth session of the series from April 9 through 15 features the film Aalto (dir. Virpi Suutari; 2020, Finland), a documentary and love story of Finnish modern architecture/design masters Alvar and Aino Aalto, and the film Fred Jüssi: The Beauty of Being/Fred Jüssi. Olemise ilu (dir. Jaan Tootsen; 2020, Estonia), a documentary about the Estonian biologist, nature writer, and photographer Fred Jüssi. The films are available as a special double-feature package.
Director Virpi Suutari will join us for a virtual film talk on Aalto with Peter Reed (former Senior Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs, MoMA) on Friday at 7 PM ET; click here for details. Director Jaan Tootsen will join us for a virtual film talk on Fred Jüssi: The Beauty of Being with author David Rothenberg on Saturday at 7 PM ET; click here for details.
Aalto tells the story of Alvar and Aino Aalto, a couple who shared their lives and great passion for the organic human-scale architecture. Together they worked to create a better and a more democratic modern world; in their philosophy, the “little human” was always in the center. In 1949, Alvar suffered the great tragedy of Aino’s death; he later married the architect Elissa Aalto, and experienced one of his most significant periods throughout the 1950s, continuing to work until he died in 1976.
The film shares for the first time Alvar and Aino’s intimate love story, highlighting Aino’s importance as an equal architect colleague and visionary designer, and takeös us on a cinematic tour of their creative processes and iconic buildings, including a library in Russia, a student dormitory at MIT, an art collector’s private house near Paris, and a pavilion in Venice. Combining contemporary film material and rare unforeseen archives, Aalto dives into the colorful history of modernism, where we also meet the Rockefellers, Le Corbusier and László Moholy-Nagy, with narration both from the designers’ contemporaries and from researchers throughout the world. (102 min. In Finnish with English subtitles)
The documentary Fred Jüssi: The Beauty of Being/Fred Jüssi. Olemise ilu looks at the biologist and nature writer, who has built his life at the crossroads between nature and culture. A true philosopher of the outdoors, Jüssi has given deep consideration to the fundamental questions of being human. In contrast to an age where success has been defined by hard work, Fred Jussi: The Beauty of Being is a film about fruitful inline; a praise for “dolce far niente,” and a hymn for living slowly. Meandering along nature’s secret trails, gazing at clouds passing by, and falling into the sweet embrace of smoke rising from a campfire, with city noise and economic growth left far, far behind — as Fred Jüssi puts it: sometimes you just have to be sinfully slothful, and all by yourself. (62 min. In Estonian with English subtitles.)
Festival films will be available to ticket holders all over the U.S. Each session is limited to 250 tickets in an effort to preserve the intimate and communal experience. The sessions will take place over seven days (Friday — Thursday), with all films available for viewing on a virtual cinema screening platform throughout this period. To download viewing instructions and an FAQ, please click here.
Fred Jussi: The Beauty of Being trailer:
Screenings of Fred Jussi: The Beauty of Being have been supported by the Consulate General of Estonia.