Tavallista tappamista

A film by Teemu Mäki.

Extracts from an interview with Hannu Lauerma, 17.4.2015.
With music by Antti Auvinen.
Directed by Teemu Mäki.

17 minutes, 4K, 2015–2016 / 2021.


I was directing Antti Auvinen's opera Autuus / Bliss. It's based on a real incident that took place in 19th century Finland: a priest in the small town of Kangaslammi killed his brother, who was a priest too.

I wanted to know more about homicides, so I went and interviewed Chief Physician and Research Professor Hannu Lauerma. In his profession he has treated and researched violent criminals so long that he knows perhaps more about this topic than anyone else in Finland, both on the level of particular incidents and on the level of statistics.

I asked about the reasons and motivations of homicides and how they differ from one country to another and what kind of changes there have been in them through the ages. I also asked about the differences between physical, mental and institutional violence and how they influence each other. And finally I asked why we watch so much violence, both real and fictional violence.

The interview took an hour. I edited a short film out of it and used it as a part of the staging of the opera. In the third act of the opera the film was projected onto a large screen. The original sound of the film had to be left out of course so as not to interfere with Auvinen's music. The dialogue of the film was communicated only through subtitles. Thus the 3rd act of the opera was a combination of three elements: 1) music, 2) silent movie, 3) actions on the stage.

I liked the end result very much and wanted to make an autonomous film out of it afterwards. I re-edited the film and added a few inserts: documentary clips of violence and a home movie extract. However, I did keep Auvinen's music in its place, because for me, in the opera, the strange combination of interview video and atonal music was especially rewarding.

When we performed the opera again, six years later, in the Finnish National Opera, and updated the work a bit, I reworked on the film as well. The film is now two minutes longer and in my opinion also significantly better:)

The 3rd act music of Auvinen's opera is thus still the only sound on the soundtrack of the film. I think of the film as a combination and collision of three separate materials: 1) documentary video, 2)  a conversation about facts, distilled into pure text, 3) Auvinen's music. These three materials are of equal value and each of them hopefully deals with and illuminates the theme of violence in its own way.

End credits of the film:

Ordinary Killing
Extracts from an interview with Hannu Lauerma, 17.4.2015.
With music by Antti Auvinen.
Directed by Teemu Mäki.

The materials used in this film were lifted
partly from the opera AUTUUS / BLISS
Composed by Antti Auvinen.
Libretto by Harry Salmenniemi.
Directed by Teemu Mäki.

Autuus / Bliss is Chamber Opera for Video, Choir and Ensemble, in 4 acts.
The music in this film is from the 2nd and 3rd act of the opera.
Musicians & singers: defunenensemble & Helsinki Chamber Choir.
Conducted by Nils Schweckendiek.
Studio recordings: Timo Kurkikangas.
Live recording of the opera, Helsinki Music a, Sonore, 16.8.2015: Anders Pohjola.

Interview with Hannu Lauerma (the idea and the questions): Teemu Mäki.
Cinematography (interview): Anna Antsalo.
Edit: Teemu Mäki.
Director: Teemu Mäki.


© Teemu Mäki 2021



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