Director Saara Cantell and acting legend Anneli Sauli (1932–2022) got to know each other on the set of the film Heartbeats in 2009. Years later, Cantell ended up making a documentary about Sauli, in her own words because, “The surprises and staggering events in Anneli Sauli’s life followed another at such a rapid pace, that nobody would believe it, if a fiction film was made out of them.”
Cantell’s film goes through Sauli’s unbelievable life and career and lets its charismatic subject speak for herself. Toivo Särkkä chose the unknown actor to lead his film The Milkmaid, which brought Sauli a reputation as a sex symbol. She was like the Marilyn Monroe or Sophia Loren of Finnish film, which was not without its problems. When studio films died in Finland, Sauli went to Germany to continue her career in film, becoming Ann Savo. Later, life takes her to both construction work and politics. Sauli also speaks on the more difficult moments in her career, which tell a dark story of the atmosphere of the past decades in the film industry and in Finland at large.
Brought to life by plenty of film clips, the documentary shines with the friendship between the two women. In the interview scenes, Cantell sit on the couch with Sauli, also in front of the camera. Following the conversations between the two is both the most fun and the most touching part of watching the film.
Producer Markku Tuurna, editor Anne Lakanen, and cinematographer Marita Hällfors, as well as Anneli Sauli’s daughter Johanna Lahtela attend the screening on Fri, Feb 2.