In Finland there is evidently a chorus of men who scream national anthems rhythmically and with diction, with counterpoints and solos, just like a regular choir … um, except they’re screaming, not singing.
Why anyone would want to hear this is a question not asked by Mika Ronkainen, director of the documentary “Screaming Men.” He, like us, sees the group as a quaint bit of silliness that makes the world more interesting, nothing more. Luckily, the Screaming Men recognize the absurdity, too, and following them on their globe-trotting concert tour is a sublimely amusing experience.
Ronkainen directs with a keen eye for what makes Screaming Men interesting. He and the choir both have a sense of humor so silly it recalls Monty Python. (Members of the choir often wear ties made of rubber, for example, and the “lighting” portion of their show consists of the screamers taking photos with the flash on. Why? Just because.)
The film shows the audition process (a deceptively austere procedure) and details some of the group’s problems as they travel the world. Some countries, it seems, have laws against altering the national anthem in any way, and screaming it is viewed by some as an alteration. How group leader Petri Sirvio, a dynamic, fun-loving man, solves these crises provides the film’s most entertaining moments.
Like the Screaming Men themselves, “Screaming Men” is not revolutionary or extraordinary. The choir is just a bunch of silly men doing silly things, and the documentary captures that with appropriate energy.
B (1 hr., 12 min.; in Finnish with subtitles; )