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jackpot 2

Jackpot 2 (1982)

35 min | Sci-Fi , Short

Three young people, two boys and a girl, meet on a Friday evening in an urban post-disaster setting which has brought Helsinki to ruins. The boys’ sole purpose of life is to play a Flip-Flop pinball machine.

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Now don’t get me wrong, I love the works of the Kaurismäki brothers, but this is a lesser work by all counts. The 35 minute short film, Jackpot 2, marks the third collaboration between Mika and Aki Kaurismäki, who would part ways after their next work. Prior to this they had done The Liar (Aki co-wrote/starred, Mika directed) and a rock-documentary called The Saimaa Gesture (both co-directed) and thanks to the success of The Liar ––it won a cash prize at a film festival–– they were able to finance this.

The films is a brief look at the lives of three youths. After some kind of disaster Helsinki is virtually empty, with only few residents left and many of them are affected by the disaster. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t make use of the interesting setting. It doesn’t explore the characters or the environment, it just focuses on a boy, his fiancée and his best friend. They sit around, talking nonsense, playing pinball and shooting pool.

The cast consists of unknown amateurs, save for Finnish rock legend Martti Syrjä, who plays “the best friend” and Kaurismäki regular Matti Pellonpää who does a nice cameo, but famous or not, everyone involved did pretty poorly. Not that they had much to work with. The dialogue is weak at best, ( “Life is cruel, but unfair. and I’m not talking metaphorically, now”) which is surprising, because the dialogue is usually the strongest aspect in a Kaurismäki film, but none of that is present here. This is more reminiscent of Godard at his most tedious.

That said, the film does have some things going for it. It’s visually quite interesting and moves on a steady pace. If one can get past the hammy acting and bad dialogue this might prove interesting, even if it doesn’t really go anywhere.

I wouldn’t recommend this to people who aren’t familiar with the cinema of the Kaurismäki brothers. They hadn’t quite found they’re style yet and this film is first and foremost an exercise. Their next project, the Worthless, made in the same year is already a masterpiece, though.

Directed by Mika Kaurismäki. With Tiina Bergström, Asmo Hurula, Elina Kivihalme, Eero Manner. Three young people, two boys and a girl, meet on a Friday evening in an urban post-disaster setting which has brought Helsinki to ruins. The boys’ sole purpose of life is to play a Flip-Flop pinball machine.

Jackpot (2)

Jackpot Records was founded by Bunny Lee in Jamaica, and became one of the most prolific labels to be distributed in England by Trojan Records with over 100 records issued between 1969 and 1973. There was also an American variation, also used for Bunny Lee’s productions, in the 70’s.

The majority of the UK releases were Bunny Lee productions, but every now and then, Trojan (thanks especially to an inventory of extra label blanks) would issue material on Jackpot from other major Reggae producers such as Laurel Aitken and Joe Gibbs.

The first UK issue, as shown, was “Seven Letters/Too Bad” by Derrick Morgan. This was the only issue to have the plain mustard label before the more colourful blue and green design was introduced.

With the exception of the very first issue, as noted, and one or two singles where the artist credits were printed in silver and not black the Jackpot label design remained unchanged throughout its run.

Bunny Lee continued to use the Jamaican variation throughout the 70’s and in to the 80’s. It has also been used extensively for represses.

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