The Blind Man Who Didn’t Want to See Titanic (2021) Venice Film Festival (2021)

September 8th, 2021
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir.: Teemu Niki; Cast: Petri Poikolainen, Marjaana Maijala, Samuli Jaskio, Rami Rusinen; Finland 2021, 81 min.

The Finns are well known for their deadpan humour and this latest  from Teemu Niki is also full of passion and soulfulness in the style of recent dark comedies Come As You Are and Berlinale Golden Bear winner The Other Side of Hope.

It follows two film buffs coping with debilitating illnesses – but the last thing they need is pity. Crucially, Niki is pains to point out that his physically challenged characters by no means see themselves as second class citizens, although they are often considered as such by those around them. The story unfolds through the out of focus perspective of wheelchair-user and John Carpenter fan Jaakko (Poikolainen) who doesn’t let his condition stand in his way, despite the negative views of his friends. Not to be outdone, his online friend Sirpa (Maijala) – the two haven’t yet met – is affected by some kind of blood virus and forced to travel “only three hours away in a train and taxi” for chemotherapy with its ghastly side effects. Jaakko takes this opportunity for a face to face meeting, paying her a supportive visit, despite to his mobility issues, a welcome lottery win providing much needed funds for the journey. As an ice-breaker, Jaakko brings with him a brand new copy of her favourite romcom the titular Titanic, a film he personally detests.

But as luck would have it, his backpack is stolen at the train station, the identity of the thief later being revealed as a young man wearing a tee-shirt emblazoned ‘Scorpions’. Here Niki introduces another humorous twist to the narrative involving the drug dealing pair Samuli and Rami (Jaskio and Rusinen). But will Jaako survive to deliver his gift?

DoP Sari Altonen has great fun imagining Jaakko’s outlook on daily life, giving the audience a full taste of the horrors which go hand in hand with his condition. But the biggest surprise of all is that Petri Poikolainen suffers MS in real life. A performance of great endurance and utter brilliance.

Venice Film Festival 2021 | IN COMPETITION 

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