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I generally enjoy all sorts of music movies, biopics and documentaries about music or musicians. Thus, I just had to go and see “Soundbreaker”. It’s not like I’d ever heard anything about Kimmo Pohjonen before, but for me it’s not important to know the musicians or even need to like their genre, but if such a film is well made and – in case of a documentary like this one – if it manages to make the musicians accessible to me.
This movie does just that extremely well. I really can’t claim to be a big fan of accordion music, and if someone had asked me before seeing this movie if I would want to see a concert where most of the music is made by agricultural machines, I might have been curious and thought about it for a moment, but then would have smiled incredulously and declined. After this movie, I absolutely wanted to see Kimmo Pohjonen live and would have loved to attend one of his Earth Machine Project concerts. (STALKER reported here )
Director Kimmo Koskela manages to show us the musician as well as the man Kimmo Pohjonen and does so with wonderful pictures. The viewers see a man who has a love-hate relationship with his chosen instrument, from which he draws inspiration to go off the beaten path, break traditions and play music with the accordion that lies far beyond what I could have imagined. One or a few instruments break in the process, get maltreated, bent and killed, but why not? There is no law that says only rock guitarists are allowed to destroy their instruments. The same way Pohjonen tortures himself in the process of making music, he tortures his instruments, and that’s a good thing, because it results in an ingenious mixture of melodies and sounds that defy conventions. His concerts are always performances as well, and he is not afraid to put seemingly crazy ideas into practice, no matter if he is playing with a chamber orchestra or using the accordion to provide background music for wrestling. (STALKER reported here ).
Apart from insights into the music and concert clips, for which one wants to get up and give standing ovations, the viewers also get to see the quiet, thoughtful side of Kimmo Pohjonen. For example, he is shown traveling to Tanzania where musicians taught him traditional instruments when he was a young man. And there is ice swimming in winter.
All in al a terrific movie, that made me want to see and hear more of this music. At the screening I saw, director Kimmo Koskela and Kimmo Pohjonen were present and answered any and all questions that came from the audience. And yes, there were standing ovations!
PS: It took 8 years to complete this film, and another year to have it run in a regular movie theater program. For now, only in Finland, starting with March 22, but hopefully this release will be extended to European theaters soon.