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ARRAS 2018 European Discoveries

Review: Heavy Trip

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- Finnish directors Juuso Laatio and Jukka Vidgren direct a simple and funny first feature about the misadventures of a heavy metal country band

Review: Heavy Trip

"Music is our thing, other guys play hockey or drive around the local area looking for girls: we play metal." And it’s by playing on the contrast between a remote Finnish village’s hyper-normalised quietness and the transgressive character of a musical style that borders on barbarism that the Finnish duo Juuso Laatio and Jukka Vidgren launch themselves into the highly-entertaining feature film Heavy Trip [+see also:
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, screened in the European Discoveries section at the 19th Arras Film Festival.

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Childhood friends who have played together for the past 12 years – without worrying about the local vox populi, which treats them like degenerate outcasts – the four-piece band, composed of singer Turo (Johannes Holopainen), guitarist Lotvonen (Samuli Jaskio), bassist Pasi (Max Ovaska) – who owns the biggest metal collection in the country (including some Uruguayan grindcore) – and drummer Jynkky (Antti Heikkinen) is aiming to perform in public. But before they can do so, they’ll need to write an original song ("heavy metal lyrics are often based on mythology, occultism, satanism, fantasy, or your own misfortune"). Taking hold of the reigns is the gentle-natured Turo, a carer at a local residents home who is coyly seeing the florist Miia (Minka Kuustonen), the local policeman’s daughter, who would much rather she went out with local crooner and show-off Jouni (Ville Tiihonen).

But they also need to find a unique sound, which they happen to chance upon by accident at the Lotvonen family slaughterhouse: "the souls of hundreds of reindeers screaming in pain on their way to reindeer hell." The result? A thunderous personal composition ("we have never played so brutally"). The recording is sent to a promoter (Rune Temte) for the Norwegian festival Northern Damnation, who is visiting the local region, and when faced with the beautiful Miia, Turo can’t help but tell a flattering lie (the band is due to play in Norway), causing the foursome, baptised Impaled Rektum, suddenly to become village stars. But nobody has ever heard them play in public before and they’ll need a stage look, promotional photos, a van for the road... A confrontation with reality that will result in numerous adventures with an intern from Lapland (Chike Ohanwe), who comes to their rescue...

Thanks to its unpretentious humour, the very simple and creative Heavy Trip is a super-fun movie, in which a Viking longship cross paths with border officials in the midst of militaristic delirium (obsessed with Islamic fundamentalism). Operating with maximum ridicule on the idea that "everyone wants to be more important than they are," the film happily and effectively plays on the tropes of the heavy metal music scene (The Blues Brothers, Velvet Goldmine), in an ear-splitting initiatory dive into "metal attitude".

Produced by Making Movies in association with Mutant Koala Pictures and Umedia, Heavy Trip is being sold internationally by Level K.

(Translated from French)

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