Eastern Memories

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Finland | 2018 | 86 minutes | Niklas Kullstrom, Martti Kaartinen

A century ago Finnish linguist G.J. Ramstedt visited Mongolia and kept a diary; now, his words form the spoken backdrop for footage by two directors retracing his footsteps.

Past and present collide in this travelogue that uses 100-year-old diaries to comment on modern-day Mongolia and Japan, and modernization in general. The diaries were written by G.J. Ramstedt, a Finnish linguist and all-around fascinating guy who was sent to Mongolia to study the language and help create a written record of it, and who fell in love with the land and the people. Instead of searching for archival footage to support the history, co-directors Martti Kaartinen and Niklas Kullstrom set out on the same journey and shot new footage of the cities and lands that Ramstedt wrote so eloquently about. Everything is the same but different, which changes not just how you look at the current footage but also how you think about the past. In addition to the original text and some beautiful cinematography, they include interviews with people they've met, such as a couple of hip-hop artists who rap in Mongolian and who credit Ramstedt for keeping their language alive. When Finland broke away from Russia after the 1917 revolution, Ramstedt was called upon to be the Finnish diplomat in Japan, where he ended up doing groundbreaking work in studying the Korean language. Turns out he's not only the best guide to this region but the perfect subject for a film.

Andy Spletzer

Director Biography
With a BA in Aesthetics and an MA in Fine Art Photography, Niklas Kullstrom is a Finnish producer, director, cinematographer, and media artist who founded Hillstream Pictures and has worked on several short films and documentaries. Eastern Memories (2018) is Kullstrom's directorial debut.

Currently based in Berlin, Martti Kaartinen is a Finnish filmmaker and scriptwriter. Kaartinen has acted as a lead in several successful short films and is currently involved in various film projects as a director, writer, and actor. Eastern Memories (2018) is Kaartinen's directorial debut.

Sponsored by Aer Lingus, Diageo Americas, Inc.

  • Original Language Title: G. J. Ramstedtin maailma
  • Director: Niklas Kullstrom, Martti Kaartinen
  • Principal Cast: Michael O'Flaherty, Voice of G. J. Ramstedt
  • Country: Finland
  • Year: 2018
  • Running Time: 86 minutes
  • Producer: Niklas Kullstrom
  • Screenplay: Martti Kaartinen
  • Cinematographers: Niklas Kullstrom
  • Editors: Niklas Kullstrom
  • Music: Rasmus Hedlund
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: Monterrey Film Festival 2018 (Best International Documentary)
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: English, Mongolian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • International Sales: Filmotor