23rd of July, 22:00
26th of July, 13:00
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The Great Sadness of Zohara
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Consolation Service
dir. Eija-Liisa Ahtila / Finland 1999 / 25’
subtitles: Polish and English


Karoliina Blackburn, Jussi Johnsson, Anna-Maria Klintrup, Jarkko Pajunen, Mervi Rannikko, Tuomas Uusitalo, Leevi Vainio, Ella Hurme


Venice Biennale 1999 – Honourable Mention

Film description

Director Eija-Liisa Ahtila is a master at erasing the line between the objective/subjective and reality/fiction in her tales of the suffering of regular people, like e.g. Anni and J-P, a young Finnish couple who drown when ice collapses under their feet. Under the water, experiencing their own death, they slip into a parallel reality where they ‘live out’ a different ending to their relationship. This is the story of the end. The first part is about how to do it. The second is about how it happened. The third is a kind of consolation service.

Prepared by: Ewa Szabłowska

Information about director

Eija-Liisa Ahtila

Eija-Liisa Ahtila (born in 1959) is a Finnish director and multimedia artist. She studied at Helsinki University, the London College of Printing, and the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. After a period of experimenting with photography, installation, and performance, Ahtila has focused on video-art. Consolation Service was awarded at the 1999 Venice Biennale and is one of her best-known works. Her poetic, unsettling pieces characteristically cross film genres, use syncopated editing and intense sound.


1995 Jos 6 olis 9 / If 6 Was 9 (short)

1997 Tänään / Today (short)

1999 Ceremonia pocieszenia / Lohdutusseremonia / Consolation Service (short)

2002 Rakkaus on aarre / Love Is a Treasure

2009 Gdzie jest gdzie? / Where Is Where?

Prepared by: Ewa Szabłowska


director: Eija-Liisa Ahtila
screenplay: Eija-Liisa Ahtila
cinematography: Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Torsti Hyvönen
editing: Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Jussi Syrjä
cast: Karoliina Blackburn, Jussi Johnsson, Anna-Maria Klintrup, Jarkko Pajunen, Mervi Rannikko, Tuomas Uusitalo, Leevi Vainio, Ella Hurme
production: Crystal Eye
sales: Crystal Eye
awards: Venice Biennale 1999 – Honourable Mention
language: Finnish
colouration: colour
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