Eye For Film >> Movies >> Screaming Men (2003) Film Review
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
Nordic choirs have been something of a hit at festivals past, with the Berlevag choir's story in Cool And Crazy being a particular favourite of mine a couple of year's ago. Huttajat - or Screaming Men - is nothing like as cosy, however.
Instead of singing, this small male voice "choir" from Oulo in Finland exercises its vocal talent by shouting a repertoire, which features everything from children's songs to national anthems, all under the watchful eye of their conductor/arranger Petri Sirvio.
Director Mika Ronkalnen has rightly identified the quirky Sirvio as the focal point of the choir's energies and, as such, this is more of a documentary about him and his attitude to life as it is about the choir, although you sense that Ronkalnen is also saying, "Art, or arse? You decide."
From the enduring opening shot of Sirvio walking on the ice floes, as a ship lurches towards him, Ronaklnen's witty style carries you along. Through the eye of the lens, we travel on tour with the choir, as they visit Japan ("Flashlights would be big here,' says Sirvio, writing them into their repertoire), Iceland - where he finds a unique way of representing their anthem - and France.
Like the singers, this film has bags of energy and, while there is something slightly unnerving about the sound of 20 men shouting very loudly, there is a kind of primordial appeal to it. That Ronaklnen is not scared of portraying the absurd side, this is definitely in the film's favour. At 73 minutes, it doesn't outstay its welcome.
One of the people in the film describes the choir as "creative Finnish madness in the flesh" and on this display of directorial flair, it would be fair to say that Ronaklnen has plenty to shout about.Reviewed on: 26 Jul 2003
If you like this, try:Cool And Crazy