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Stars of Vares at the central library


Antti Reini and Outi Mäenpää, the leading actors in the film Vares, like to spend time at the library.

Libraries are full of stories that people read. Today, many of these stories can also be seen, even without the eyes of our minds. For filmmakers, literature is a treasure trove, a source of both light-hearted and more serious material that can be taken to the silver screen.

Vares, one of the biggest domestic hit film series in recent years, is a good example of literature that was reborn with the transition to the audiovisual world. The Vares detective stories by Reijo Mäki have fascinated Finnish readers ever since the book Enkelipölyä in 1984. The film Vares – Pahan suudelma, directed by Anders Engström, received its theatrical premiere in early 2011, and it is the first in the series of six new Vares films, whose production started in Turku in 2010. The films also seek international success.

Antti Reini is the star of Pahan suudelma and the rest of the upcoming Vares films, playing the role of Jussi Vares himself. Reini tells that his wishes for the new library include plenty of free art available to all.

“For example, cross-artistic workshops could be desirable and interesting. Art in different forms is perfect for libraries. The library could feature a film theatre, facilities with TVs and DVDs for private viewing and a lively theatre stage.”

Reini also wants the library to be open until late hours, and a nice bar could also fit the bill. He also reminds about the role of small libraries in addition to larger ones:

“Libraries should be close to people, distributed throughout the city. It is important that library services be effortless for the customers.”

His own personal library memories include the Kallio library. “As a kid, I used to select books just based on how they smelled.”

What is Antti Reini’s favourite novel that has also been turned into a film?

“It has to be Papillon. In my early years, I read the book several times, allowing it to take me on exotic adventures. I remember wondering how an innocent man could be put to jail. However, the silver screen version was something of a disappointment. Everything looked slightly different in my imagination.”

Outi Mäenpää thinks Helsinki really needs a main library of large proportions.

The library is an important place for Outi Mäenpää

The cast of Vares – Pahan suudelma also includes Outi Mäenpää (currently Nordberg), who also plays a role in another current heavy-hitting film based on a popular, award-winning novel. Directed and adapted by Pernilla August, the film Sovinto is based on Susanna Alakoski’s Sikalat (2007, original version Svinalängorna) and brings together Swedish and Finnish actors. As part of a rock-solid cast (including Noomi Rapace, for example), Mäenpää performs the role of a Swedish Finn with a drinking problem to such finesse that she was recently awarded with the esteemed Swedish Guldbagge Award.

Outi Mäenpää also has a thing for libraries. “Out of the current libraries, I really like the Rikhardinkatu library a lot. Time has left the building its mark, and the atmosphere is great. However, Helsinki really needs a main library of large proportions.”

Mäenpää’s wishes for the Central Library include a diverse service offering: “In addition to books, the library could feature a cafe, a child park and a space for small-scale theatrical and musical performances as well as discussion and training events. Those things would be just lovely.”

Mäenpää is also excited about a few less traditional options, such as having a food restaurant, a gym or even romantic hidden corners scattered around the library.

“A small movie theatre is a must, and a space that would be open around the clock could be nice. A bar could be nice as well; a Central European-cultured establishment, not a suburban beer tavern.”

Mäenpää has spent a lot of time visiting various libraries during the years. “My first long-term relationship was with the Tapiola library. After that, I have always visited my local libraries. Whenever I move to a new city, I first go to the local library in order to become integrated to the new community. The local library speaks volumes of each individual city or town. I did my studies for the matriculation exam at the library. I just love the library atmosphere.”

Naturally, Mäenpää’s favourite novel that has been made into a film is Sikalat and the film is Sovinto.

“It’s a great book and the film, fully independent from the book, is also magnificent.”

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