At the start of the 20th century, Finnish linguist and diplomat G. J. Ramstedt traveled throughout central Asia and Japan on a series of expeditions studying worlds of belief and tradition that have since been replaced by the market economy. In Eastern Memories, directors Niklas Kullström and Martti Kaartinen have followed in his footsteps, using his memoirs to guide an extended road trip through Mongolia and Japan that became a visually stunning journey of adventure and exploration, love and death, conspiracies and the fall of nations. Seamlessly intertwining the past and present, the film is a reminder of the events witnessed by one Finnish explorer from the distant north, and how those have since changed the course of the past 100 years into our experiences today.
“Eastern Memories is both an essay film and a magnificent travel film, which spans over ten thousand kilometres and has a hundred years of historical experiences in its luggage. The duo Niklas Kullström and Martti Kaartinen have created a breathtaking film with an edge of bone-dry Finnish humour – told, as it is, by a dead Finn from the cold North on the fringes of the Mongolian steppes.”—Cinema Scandinavia
Following the screening, the directors will be present for a Q&A.
About the Directors
Martti Kaartinen is a Finnish filmmaker and scriptwriter. He has acted as a lead in short films that have been shown at major festivals and on TV broadcasts. Background research for the documentary Eastern Memories took Kaartinen for a month to Tokyo, for six months to Mongolia and for several weeks to China, travelling and living alone with the local people. He is currently involved in several different film projects as a director, writer and an actor. As a journalist Kaartinen has written articles ranging from social to cultural issues, and done photo reports for various publications. Eastern Memories is Kaartinen’s debut film as a director.
Niklas Kullström is a Finnish filmmaker, cinematographer, editor and media artist. He was born in Helsinki, Finland, but has lived extensively abroad, in Japan, Iceland, United Kingdom, Latvia and Russia. The short documentary film, Say Hello in Slovio, which he made in the Balkans with British director May Abdalla, has been screened at Cannes Film Festival and was awarded at the Helsinki Short Film Festival. As a media and photo artist Kullström has concentrated on the aesthetic and social challenges created by digitalisation and technologization. His works have been internationally displayed at several different venues, most notably at the Hamburg Photography Triennial in 2015. Kullström also works as a producer, photographer and teacher. In 2016 he produced, edited and filmed the comedic-short The Dijon-Story, directed by Mikko Myllylahti. He has also had longstanding collaboration with Serbian director and producer Boris Mitić, on his documentary feature In Praise of Nothing, which premiered at Locarno in 2017. Eastern Memories is Kullström’s debut film as a director.
SAT—October 20—11 AM, free