A Strange Message From Another Star
The life of the 69-year-old Finnish-American aerospace engineer Paavo Rahkonen is dominated by war and strife. From his childhood, his father told him that he had emigrated to the United States to escape the Finnish civil war in 1917, but at home Paavo saw this peace-loving man squabbling and fighting with his mother day and night. After having been a witness to the dropping of the nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Paavo decided it was better for him to leave this ‘planet of the apes‘ (from the famous science-fiction film). He applied himself diligently to the design of spaceships and rocket fuel. By means of a sober black-and-white photography and an associative editing, director Veli Granö sketches a portrait of a dreamer, who may eventually succeed in sending his rockets into the sky (Rahkonen was in fact one of the designers of the Space Shuttle), but who was himself forced to stay on earth. Until a ‘strange encounter‘ changed that, too. Today, he is building antitank artillery on a junkyard. Veli Granö (1960) is active as a photographer, an artist and a documentary filmmaker. IHMEELLINEN VIESTI TOISELTA TÄHDELTÄ is his first production on film. The film is part of a multimedia installation that was displayed in various Finnish museums. For that purpose, the documentary was screened in an exhibition hall where at the same time photographs, videotapes and film extracts were shown. The visitors could also listen to interview fragments that were not included in the film.