Screened as part of NZIFF 2004

Screaming Men 2003


Directed by Mika Ronkainen

Denmark / Finland In Finnish with English subtitles
76 minutes 35mm

Director, Screenplay


Vesa Taipaleenmaki


Pernille Bech Christensen


Olli Tuomainen
Petri Sirviö


Edinburgh, Amsterdam Documentary 2003; Sundance 2004


Petri Sirviö founded the Screaming Men’s Chorus in Oulo, Finland in 1987. He’s a rigorous, sardonic choirmaster and only men serious about screaming need apply. Huutajat, a Finnish word, signifies anything a man can do with a loud voice: scream, yell, shout, bellow, howl, etc. It all frees up the emotions. We follow the choir as it tours to Japan, Sweden and France, performing excerpts from law texts, operating manuals, national anthems... Sirviö is incensed when told not to perform the Marseillaise to an élite audience of Paris officials. If the choir can scream other country’s national anthems, why should the French be treated any differently? We see surreal auditions where men must sustain a note and blow into a plastic device that measures their lung capacity. Dressed strictly in black, although hair and beard styles vary wildly, their deadly serious demeanour seems to be particularly appreciated in Japan. Conceptual, tongue-in-cheek, absurdist these men may be, but their antics make for an entertaining, wry film that is also well constructed, smartly edited and looks good. — SR