written and directed by Eija-Liisa Ahtila
(c) & produced by Crystal Eye Ltd, Helsinki
Consolation Service follows a
young finnish couple, Anni and J-P, as they make public their decision
to divorce. It is set in early spring in Helsinki, with its frozen
landscape on the cusp of thawing.
Narrated in a voice-over by the couple's neighbour,
the work presents three dramatic moments in this process: It begins
with Anni and J-P's session with their therapist giving them advice
on how to come to terms with the end of their relationship, followed
by the couple celebrating J-Ps birthday with their friends
that ends with the whole group drowning in a frozen lake on their
way to the birthday dinner. At this moment, camera angle and perspective
change to parallel the shift of the narrative. An underwater monologue
contemplates the past and death. The film concludes in a »consolation
service« a final relinquishing of the relationship.
The narrative combines documentary realism and cinematic
invention and is fragmented between two adjacent screens, allowing
a dichotomized point of view on a single scene while inviting us
to see beyond the illusion of fiction.
[The film starts at each hour and a half.]