The third Nitrate Picture Show ended on a high note with an unidentified film (the “blind date”) that turned out to be Finnish director Teuvo Tulio’s gloriously insane melodrama Restless Blood [Levoton veri]. I never heard of the director, the film, or anyone in it. I adore this silly spectacle, which straddles the line between soap opera and Saturday morning cartoon.
The story is a love triangle involving two sisters, elder Sylvi (Regina Linnanheimo) and younger Outi (Toini Vartiainen), and Valter Sora (Eino Katajavuori), a burly doctor in their small town. Outi is his patient—she broke her leg—but Sylvi snags him as a husband. Not that Outi has no chance—she does, which she proves when she returns after disappearing, heartbroken, for a few years. Oh yeah—Sylvi goes blind in the meantime: she drinks poison.
Written by Tulio, Linnanheimo, and Nisse Hirn, the script is prime time dynamite. And fresh even by today’s standards. Forget the Ewings and the Carringtons—loaded with sibling rivalry and drama, Restless Blood is the raw and bitter real deal.
Here’s Sylvi driving like a maniac, “blinded” by rage:
Come on! That coat, those glasses, that pissed off vengeful smoke! It’s perfect. When we see that Sylvi gets what’s going on between her husband and her sister, wow. Just…wow. The story is thin, but the actors put a lot into it. Bonus: Pentti Lintonen’s cinematography is brilliant. Seeing it on a nitrate print was the icing on the cake—totally worth the cinematic fat and calories.
Restless Blood is not the best film screened at this year’s Nitrate Picture Show, but I dare say it’s the most interesting. I’m dying to see more by Tulio—too bad his work is not easily (or cheaply) accessible.
With H. Stenroos, Lauri Korpela, Laina Laine, Nora Mäkinen, Lida Salin, Emma Väänänen, Elli Ylimaa
Production: Teuvo Tulio
Distribution: Väinän Filmi
(Dryden Theatre) B
Nitrate Picture Show