16 November 2001 | uniikki
A short look into Emmauksen tiellä
First of all, I cannot really fathom how some foreigner who does not know finnish culture would feel, or what he/she could get out of this movie. Most likely not very much. Then again, it's not very likely that all that many non-finns will ever see this movie. I suppose not all that many Finns will find very much from this movie either. First of all, it's Dogmaish approach. The movie was filmed in one day (except for a couple of scenes) in chronological order whilst walking on the very road (On the Road of Emmaus) with flashbacks done by panning, the film crew sometimes entering the picture intentionally, talking and looking at the camera etc. There is lots of that stuff and I can imagine that it would bother many.
The movie itself is a story of Rane, returning to his childhood home located in a small village in the middle of nowhere only to sell it. However, after a plot twist Rane has to walk to a bridge to pay his taxi fare, and we're led into a strange road movie into finnish countryside, an odd stroll down the memory lane filled with odd characters, music and dancing. Such a cacophonic mix very easily leaves you either charmed or confused.
Personally I found that the care-free dogma style was used to strengthen the experience. The story wasn't horribly strong, but it more than lasted its 80 minutes by introducing a new character to flesh out Rane's history or just introducing something wonderfully weird when it didn't really know what to do.
The acting was for the most part good. Or rather it was appropriate. At times it was horribly overdone, but it all felt rather appropriate. Especially Peter Franzèn as Arvi proves himself as a most versatile actor.
All in all, Emmauksen tiellä is bound to be such a subjective experience it is really hard to say something definitive about it. It has a strong theatre-like feel to it, and it never really allows you to forget that you're watching a movie. I suppose in the US the movie would have considerably higher PG rating, for it deals with many not so nice things but by it's heart it is a gentle story of a lost lamb. If you've ever loved the finnish countryside with it's unpaved roads and fields that a city dweller could not tell apart, this might be a movie for you. If you haven't, well, it's still a very entertaining movie, if a bit oversentimental:-)