The Midnight Sun Film Festival
Five days and five nights in the village of Sodankylä, the heart of Finnish Lapland, north of the Arctic Circle. Where the sun doesn’t set at all in summer.
Timeless masterpieces from veteran filmmakers are presented side by side with contemporary films. Leading film critics provide their insight into cinema’s finest classics.
Ever since the festival’s origin, Festival Director Peter von Bagh has interviewed the main guests in the famous morning discussions: These sessions form the core of this book.
Thanks to our guests throughout the 30 years, the spirit of Sodankylä is well known around the world.
About the Author
We don’t live in the present alone. The past with all its memories, events and experiences is alive in us. Often, the past is more powerful than the present.
– Peter von Bagh in Helsinki Forever
Peter von Bagh (1943–2014) was a cinema historian, director, screenwriter, award-winning non-fiction writer, radio producer and the editor of the Filmihullu magazine.
Since the beginning in 1986 he has been Director of the Midnight Sun Film Festival, and since 2001 he has worked as the Artistic Director of Il Cinema Ritrovato Festival in Bologna. He was a jury member at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004.
He has written more than 30 books and directed 45 television documentaries, including TV series. Cinema, history and music are his lifelong passions.
World-renowned critic Jonathan Rosenbaum chose von Bagh’s documentary Helsinki, Forever as one of the top ten movies of the first decade of the 21st century. Retrospective selections of von Bagh’s films have been screened in Buenos Aires, Moscow, Rotterdam and Tromsø.
On Midnight Sun Film Festival
Woodstock is fuckin’ nothing if you’ve been at the Midnight Sun Film Festival.
– D.A. Pennebaker in 1987
I hate festivals. The only exceptions are the Midnight Sun Film Festival and a certain Cognac festival. Here I feel I am among friends, among people who love cinema.
– Claude Chabrol in 1992
Assembled largely from interviews with directors conducted over a 25-year period at the Midnight Sun Film Festival he runs in the tiny Finnish municipality of Sodankylä, the film does a double duty as a celebration of the festival itself and as a veritable history of cinema and the 20th century. – –
One of the questions addressed to all guests – "What was the first film you saw?" – becomes a way to extend the story of the festival back to the silent era, because a "festival is as deep as the memory it contains."
– Nico Baumbach on Sodankylä Forever documentary series, Film Comment, 2011
Just to mention a few, the following persons have visited the Midnight Sun Film Festival:
Chantal Akerman, Fatih Akin, Gianni Amelio, Roy Ward Baker, Gian Vittorio Baldi, Carroll Ballard, Marco Bellocchio, László Benedek, Luis García Berlanga, John Berry, John Boorman, Seymour Cassel, Claude Chabrol, Youssef Chahine, Michael Chapman, Souleymane Cissé, Francis Ford Coppola, Roger Corman, Pedro Costa, Costa-Gavras, Edgardo Cozarinsky, Joe Dante, Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Terence Davies, Jonathan Demme, Jacques Demy, Claire Denis, Vittorio De Seta, André de Toth, Jean Dréville, Victor Erice, Richard Fleischer, Milos Forman, Freddie Francis, Samuel Fuller, Terry Gilliam, Amos Gitai, Claude Goretta, Jean-Pierre Gorin, Robert Guédiguian, Val Guest, Monte Hellman, Agnieszka Holland, Otar Iosseliani, Jim Jarmusch, Philip Kaufman, Jerzy Kawalerowicz, Irvin Kershner, Marlen Khutsiev, Abbas Kiarostami, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Andrei Konchalovsky, Emir Kusturica, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Joseph H. Lewis, Maud Linder , Dušan Makavejev, Samira Makhmalbaf, Nanni Moretti, Robby Müller, Cristian Mungiu, Manoel de Oliveira, Jafar Panahi, Robert Parrish, Ivan Passer, D.A. Pennebaker, Michael Powell, Bob Rafelson, Dino Risi, Francesco Rosi, Jean Rouch, Claude Sautet, John Sayles, Jerry Schatzberg, Thelma Schoonmaker, Ettore Scola, Vincent Sherman, Jerzy Skolimowski, Andrei Smirnov, Fernando Solanas, Sergio Sollima, Elia Suleiman, István Szabó, Jean-Charles Tacchella, Béla Tarr, Bertrand Tavernier, Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani, Jan Troell, Agnès Varda, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Wim Wenders, Robert Wise, Krzysztof Zanussi...