Pohjankävijäin merkintöjä

Northern Travelogues

Domestic title:
Pohjankävijäin merkintöjä
Kira Jääskeläinen
Kira Jääskeläinen
Jouko Aaltonen
FFF support:
In 1917 Finnish explorer, author and archeologist Sakari Pälsi travelled to north-eastern Siberia. The two years long expedition birthed a unique documentary film, a travelogue and correspondence with his family at home. A hundred years after Pälsi’s expedition, director Kira Jääskeläinen follows his footsteps to the Bering strait of her dreams. As she reads Pälsi’s diaries, their goals seem identical. The long journey and its expectations are of huge proportions. The Bering Strait becomes a mythical place that has always been a challenge to reach. Now the scenery has changed but it is still recognisable. In the villages the director meets people whose stories are linked to the development of the area from Pälsi’s days to our own. Ainana went to one of the first schools in the area, but at her birthplace is nowadays Russia’s most easterly border station. Nikolai’s leather boat workshop stands like it did hundreds of years before him: the room is filled with the smell of fermenting walrus skin. He works like the unknown man in Pälsi’s photograph.The film is based on Kira Jääskeläinen’s journey from Helsinki to the village of Uelen, Pälsi’s journey and the material he collected intertwined with interviews and consequential modern scenes in the villages at the Bering Strait. By combining the memoirs of the people she meets, Pälsi’s notes and other explorers’ travelogues, the director draws a larger picture of the Bering Strait. Pälsi becomes part of this history. As a modern explorer the director tries to understand Pälsi, while on the other hand she looks for her own place and an answer for why she keeps returning to this desolate and beautiful northerly part of the world. The expedition shows us, how the Arctic is undergoing huge changes, just as hundred years ago. How long will it prevail the mythical position in people’s minds? Is yet again a new chapter beginning?
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