The Extra shows only one side of Christoffer Slotte
Text: Kaisa Kuikkaniemi and Mirka Räisänen
Translation: Leena Rajamäki
The Extra, a documentary film by Klaus Härö, a documentary film by Klaus Härö, depicts the everyday life of statist Christoffer Slotte.
Slotte is an enthusiastic film-fanatic, who has ten years of experience in being a statist. He also knew Härö beforehand.
"It was easy to decide to participate in the project. We agreed that if I did not want some situation to be filmed, it was not filmed. I thought that he will do what he wants to do and I will do what I am told to do."
All 50 minutes about Christoffer
Slotte's life was observed for almost a year. Altogether they had 16 filming days. Another statist was also filmed for the documentary film, but her scenes were left out in the film-editing process.
"When I heard that I was the main character, my blood run cold. It was both good and bad news at the same time. I had been open about my feelings and I knew they would emerge. All 50 minutes of the film would be about Christoffer."
Slotte's long experience in front of the camera became useful when they were shooting the film. His friendship with Härö was also helpful.
"The camera did not bother me as often as it did bother others. Sometimes I almost forgot that it was even there. I was not afraid to talk about my feelings; sometimes I was maybe even too open."
The film's openness has been praised in the reviews. Slotte says that he has received positive feedback especially from women.
"I am grateful for all the positive comments and therefore glad about the fact that I was a part of the project. Slotte has had mixed feelings about the feedback. He is concerned of the image people receive of him by watching the documentary film.
"The documentary film shows only one side of me. Some situations seem one-dimensional because of the editing, or maybe because of the directing. For example, the scene shot in the class reunion gives the impression that no-one was interested in me."
Slotte has given thought to the effect the director has on the result. He describes himself as a happy, funny and social person. These characteristics are not present in the documentary film. By the means of directing and editing, the story can be told from many different angles.
Slotte's or Härö's story?
"The director himself told me that he is a ruminative and unsocial person, and that is why these characteristics are also emphasised in the documentary film. In that sense it is also a documentary film about the director. This is how most of the directors, for example Ingmar Bergman, work. But one can ask if it is ethical to do this in a documentary film where the central character plays himself or herself. Is a documentary film allowed to tell the story of the director when the main character is not brought out properly?"
If Slotte would be asked to participate in another documentary film, he would consider it very carefully.
"It would be difficult to participate in any project right now, but in the future I would want to be involved in these kinds of things, though I would be very careful about the goals of the film and the whole filming process. Now I have a better understanding of what a documentary film really is."
Festival News, Wednesday 3 March 2004