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Intro with Frank Gehry & Esa -Pekka Salonem
Q&A with Kyle Bergman & Virpi Suutari
Film Info
Run Time:90 min
Release Year:2020
Production Country:Finland
Original Langauge:Finnish
Cast/Crew Info
Director:Virpi Suutari



AALTO is a captivating journey into the life and work of one of the greatest modern architects, Alvar Aalto. The film shares for the first time the intimate love story of the Finnish architect and his wife, Aino Aalto, and highlights her importance as an equal architect colleague and visionary designer. The modern, sophisticated and liberal couple, who married in 1924, co-designed many buildings around the world and the film takes us on a cinematic tour of their creative processes and iconic buildings, including a library in Russia, a student dormitory at MIT, an art collector’s private house near Paris, and a pavilion in Venice. The film's director Virpi Suutari said, “I realized that no one is great alone and this film highlights the key roles of Aino Aalto and Alvar Aalto’s second architect spouse, Elissa, as well as the artisans and other architects who worked in the office.”



Virpi Suutari


Virpi Suutari is an awarded film maker known for her personal cinematic style and emotional narratives. Her films have been shown all over the world. The Idle Ones (2002) was nominated for the Best European Documentary (EFA) and she has got several awards the Best NordicDocumentary. Her latest film, Entrepreneur, was in the Masters selection at IDFA 2018. Virpi has received the national Jussi Award (the Finnish Oscars) three times. She is working with the top film professionals, among them editor Jussi Rautaniemi, who has edited internationally acclaimed films such as The happiest day in the life of Olli Mäki (Un certain regard - prize Cannes 2016)


Directors Statement
I have wanted to make a film about Alvar Aalto for years. When I was a child, the library designed by Aalto in Rovaniemi, in Finnish Lapland, became my refuge in the afternoons. Outside it was often -30 degrees but when I opened the library door, I was welcomed with exceptional warmth. Homes in the 1970s were modest, but the library that belonged to everyone was luxurious. I can still grasp the feeling of grabbing the iconic curved brass door handle. I remember how nice it was to stroke the wall made of porcelain bricks that had grooves in them. The leather chairs and brass lamps designed by Aalto were incredibly beautiful. Aalto can be called architect of empathy, sensuality. His spaces create physical memories. That is a quality I wanted to transfer into this film.

I also wanted to explore who was the man called Alvar Aalto and who were his two architect wives. How did they collaborate, how did they become part of the international modern movement, and what were their inner passions and sorrows that are reflected in their architecture and design. In this journey I learned a lot about architecture and about modernism, but above all I found exceptional people who had revolutionaly ideas. In the world of starhitects and wow-buildings Aaltos´ humaine modesty feels more up to date than ever. In this film I share the knowledge and emotions I found in the Aaltos and in their creations. I was priviliged to get rare access to their family films, photo albums, old interviews and love letters. There is profound research behind this film but the result is not a cold academic study about architecture. The core is in humans: Alvar, Aino and Elissa. With great cinematography and profound sound design we hope to make Aaltos´ beautiful world alive in the big screen.




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