Risto Jarva and Antti Peippo during the filming of Ruusujen aika
It's been 30 years since the death in car accident of Risto Jarva, perhaps the most prominent film director in Finland before Aki Kaurismäki.
Risto Jarva (15 July 1934 - 16 December 1977) was one of the Finnish directors (alongside e.g. Maunu Kurkvaara, Erkko Kivikoski and Jaakko Pakkasvirta) who in the early 1960s took their cues from French new wave and modernism, thus breaking the nationalist-rural tradition that had been prevalent in Finland's cinema up to those days.
Such works as Onnenpeli (1965) and Työmiehen päiväkirja (1967) combined urbanist themes and social topics. Ruusujen aika (1969) is one of the rare examples of Finnish science fiction cinema. Bensaa suonissa (1970) and controversial Kun taivas putoaa... (1972) (based on the worst exploits of scandal press magazines such as Hymy and its most notorious writer Veikko Ennala) brought grim satirical overtones to social commentary. Yhden miehen sota (1973), perhaps the bleakest film of Jarva, follows the desperate attempts of a lone entrepreneur and his one-man excavator company.
After that Jarva's films took on a lighter note, though not abandoning social issues, and commercially, popular comedies starring Antti Litja, such as Mies joka ei osannut sanoa ei (1975), Loma (1976) and especially Jäniksen vuosi (1977, from a novel by Arto Paasilinna) were the biggest successes of Jarva's career until the death in taxi accident after the director was returning from a showing of Jäniksen vuosi for the invited guests cut his career short, thus giving a serious blow for Finnish cinema in general.
Rauli Badding Somerjoki: 'Bensaa suonissa' (off Risto Jarva's Bensaa suonissa, 1970)
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