7 brothers (7 frères): Finnish folk tales
- Vassilis Kroustallis
The Finnish visual artist Riita Nelimarkka & Claude Louis Michel offer an adaptation of an old folk tale in feature length format. Read the review.
7 brothers is a joyful adaptation of the Finnish author's Aleksis Kivi romantic novel of the same name in 1834. The 7 brothers in an inconspicuous Finnish town suddenly find themselves, after the death of their mother, to be held responsible for their farm and its worries.
Unfortunately, the brothers prefer the earlier stage of civilization and, after a whole-hearted rejection of their common marriage proposal to the beautiful village lady, decide to wander around the forest and face its dangers, calamities but also a sense of wonder.
The watercolor look of 7 brothers and the calm voice-over tone (Thierry Hancisse, Christian Gonon,Félicien Juttner) give the film a well-received distanced look, like a grandma that recites old tales. The somewhat funny adventures of the brothers (beware of the bear), as well as their total inability to move into a more societal mode, makes the film justify its motto "to accept what nature gives them".
The devil scene and story, in particular, joins brilliantly the earthly concerns of the brothers with the almost mystical look of the nature that they tend towards.
On the other hand, the narrative and the story seems more like an excuse to depict an impressive impressionistic landscape than an outlet to a coherent storytelling. Events are duplicated (a fire incident), and the characteri\ation of 7 brothers seems inexistent, even on the level of stereotype.
Animation when presenting group movements seems badly-synchronized. The film soundtrack is apposite enough to its purpose.
7 brothers reads well as an adventure of morals that relates to a more environmentalistic concern towards human civilization, yet needs more concern for its particular storytelling devlces.