VALKOINEN RAIVO || 2015, Finland || Documentary || Directed by – Arto Halonen / Written by – Arto Halonen [inspired by an article by Katri Merikallio] / Produced by – Arto Halonen / Music by – Kirka Sainio / Cinematography – Peter Flinckenberg, Mika Orasmaa / Editing by – Arto Halonen, Otto Heikola || 73 mins.
Arto Halonen’s latest documentary feature illustrates the theory of the “white rage,” from which the film draws its title. This is a theory formed by a scholar who used himself as a direct example of how repeated school bullying and serious childhood traumas led him to start fantasising privately about retribution by way of mass murder. White rage, it is argued, opposes black rage, which refers to unplanned acts of violence from which the majority of crimes derive.
To illustrate the theory, Halonen constructed a film that progresses by way of narration and reconstruction that not only illustrate the events told by the academic researcher and respected scientist who composed it, and who is referred to as Lauri, but also take us right inside his mind. This is not only achieved through the first person narration, but also in the cinematographic style employed, where occasionally the camera becomes his direct point of view.
The atmosphere is even intensified by use of sound effects and music to accentuate the documentary’s immediate shock value. This latter point may be used excessively. To some, this might cause the film to seem slightly lenient towards exploitation. However, it can be traced back to the narration itself, in which Lauri – this is the name of the scientist – distinctly refers to how different types of music fed into his moods and often even inspired fantasies, ineviably making the viewing experience all the more unsettling and purposefully provocative.
White Rage was produced in Finland, a country with a history of school schootings but also other acts of terrorism and bombings. However, it is not geographically restricted to this location, and can relate on a universal level. Not least of all because from the very beginning, a title card declares that these specific events really happened, and that the man narrating them is a real person.
For the sake of protecting him, his voice was slightly altered, and his true identity is never revealed, and yet the fact that he is so specific about some of the things that affect his mindset from the death of his father, to the brutal acts of bullying inflicted upon him in school, right down to his growing interest in different types of weapons and fantasies about torture, humanize a topic that is usually prone to generalization.” – 2/5