Credit of the photo: Sandor Vilagos-Vilakoski (Puzi), a very close friend of Niilas family.
My friend and colleague Niilas showed me this beautiful picture. It is about his mother and father in the 50's. Niilas is from Helsinki, Finland, and, of course, a lover of Tango. Helsinki and Buenos Aires have more things in common than we usually think: we share not only Tango music and dance, but also a nice and warm melancholy and some “Port” sensibility and aesthetics.
If you are a film lover, probably you know the fabulous Kaurismaki brother’s films. These two great brothers have made many great movies located in Helsinki, with the kind of sensibility that can perceive universal humankind in very local characters. For example, in the movie “The man without a past”, from the elder brother, the one I am fan of.
Aki Kaurismaki, like in most of his films, chooses stories about losers. “Losers” not in the 90's way of saying, like cool-beautiful losers, but real harmed, damaged outcast people. So Aki has chosen to narrate the dark side of a first world city. And it is impressive how similar they are to us. In his movies, like in our cities, the presence of the State is almost inexistent. Where is that fabulous Finnish State? There is no answer for that in his films, but there is a very detailed character subjectivity build thorough the camera.
The unnamed man, the one without his past, has lost his conscious by the beats of some hoodlums, the equivalent “malevo” for us. In that hopeless abandoned situation is that he meets a girl. Is love possible when you don’t know who you are, in the more literal way? Can a woman fell in love with someone that has nothing, not even his own memories? Is it possible to be yourself again once you have a new experience life? How would it be if you finally find your past life, your past mate and your past home? In the beginning of love was Tango, would said Aki and Niilas, my friend, would agree. There is a terrific scene when the girl and the man dance Tango music by just holding each other.
"Lights in the dusk" is the story of a man, a lonely poor man, betrayed by the people he trusted. He lost everything and left with nothing, not even hope. Again, in that desperate situation is that he meets a girl, one that is as lonely and unhappy as him. During the movie there is a lot of Tango. In this case, “Volver”.
There is a very funny interview to Aki, where he said that Almodóvar always copy him and that Finnish marines brought Tango to Buenos Aires. As it is known, there is some discussion about the origin of Tango, but the more accepted argument is that the Finnish marines heard Tango when they came to Buenos Aires Port and took it to Finland during the 40’s.
Niilas told me that this photographs could perfectly be Helsinki. Many scenes from Kaurismaki films are full of dark light, trains, abandoned object and places. And if you listen to Finnish singers of Tango, you’ll notice how similar they are in the face expressions. For example, you can listen and see Olavi Virta, the singer of Finnish Tango from the 50’s most known.
But not only of Tango is made love, there is also Rock. In “Shadows in paradise” is the best scene of a kissed ever filmed by showing a hand, with a song that speaks as Tango, but sounds like Rock.
Finnish is one of the most complex languages to learn, and it has a very hard pronunciation. They only share some root or similarity with Estonian and Hungarian language. Nillas sent me the alphabet, where you can see some differences with ours.
But once you listen to Olavi Virta, or watch some of the great movies of Aki, you’ll know that Finnish and Argentinean people do speak the same language.