Jenni & Lauri Luhta
Creating content-laden works of contemporary art in the age of digital immediacy
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(The Deluge, 2021)

Syndafloden (The Deluge) is the first joint full-length feature film by Jenni and Lauri Luhta. The work is visual-cinematic, realized through digital collage technique. The film's script is based on the prophecies and riddles in the work diaries of Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519). The work on the film began in the spring of 2019, when 500 years had passed since Leonardo's death and the Notre Dame of Paris caught fire.

Our journey starts with Leonardo wandering amongst nature's sublime wonders and rumblings, finally coming upon a cave. A secret is found therein: it is Death (played by Jenni Luhta), reciting Leonardo's prophecies in Swedish for the remainder of the film. Through Leonardo's words and visions, we look into the state of the contemporary world, our present age that was born from the shock of the 20th century and the World Wars. As our story is narrated by Leonardo through Death's lips, our emotional guide for the duration of the trip is Olavi Paavolainen (1903–1964), a Finnish critic and essayist to whom this film is dedicated. As Paavolainen represents the 20th century tragic European (melancholic Parisian influence on modernity, fears of decline of the West, witnessing WWII, genocide and atomic bombings), the present is portrayed by a fish-eyed Follower (played by Lauri Luhta) of Death. The passive Follower accepts the strange death of Europe, as well as his own death, but in his total, futile emptiness is ready to be reborn, realizing that the great turning in the West away from what is best began already before Leonardo’s time, the so-called Renaissance...

The unique translations of Leonardo's fragments to Swedish used in the film were made in collaboration with visual artist and translator Magnus Strandberg. Syndafloden is in Swedish language, because "Döden talar svenska" ("Death speaks Swedish") as the meme goes. The character of the narrator cannot be seen in isolation from the "medieval" figure of Death in Ingmar Bergman's Det sjunde inseglet (The Seventh Seal). Moreover, the filmmakers find Swedish language to be as "sjungande" ("singing") as Italian. The directors have also been inspired by Andrei Tarkovsky’s last work Offret (The Sacrifice), which was filmed in Sweden.

The film's trailer and a short film extract Efter människan (After Man), can be viewed on Vimeo. The whole Syndafloden is not available on the net. If you want to see the film, please contact: info at jennilauriluhta dot com.

Directed by
Jenni & Lauri Luhta

Written by
Jenni Luhta

Jenni Luhta as Death
Lauri Luhta as Follower

Produced by
Lauri Luhta

Filmed, animated and edited by
Jenni Luhta

Researched by
Lauri Luhta

Leonardo’s original writings translated into Swedish by
Magnus Strandberg

Date of release
Installation version at St. Henry's Ecumenical Art Chapel, Turku, November 2020
First online version, 21 December 2020
Final version, October 2021