LE HAVRE (Aki Kaurismäki, 2011)

I take my Jean-Pierre Léaud, perhaps my favorite film actor of the past fifty years, as I happen to find him, and an inside joke in Finnish writer-director Aki Kaurismäki’s Le Havre is that he is playing much the same creep that Jean-Luc Godard himself played in A bout de souffle (Godard, 1959). For the […]

CALAMARI UNION (Aki Kaurismäki, 1985)

By integrating both paintings and a comic book’s illustrations into its black-and-white world, writer-director Aki Kaurismäki’s second fictional work, Calamari Union, helps make that world all the more convincing as a means of grounding its absurdities. Finland’s greatest film artist ever applies his deadpan humor to this stark, scattered depiction of seventeen electric guitar- or […]

THE MATCH FACTORY GIRL (Aki Kaurismäki, 1990)

The following is one of the entries from my 100 Greatest Films from Germany, Scandinavia, Finland & Austria list, which I invite you to visit on this site if you haven’t already done so. — Dennis The conclusion of Finnish writer-director-editor Aki Kaurismäki’s “proletariat trilogy,” Tulitikkutehtaan tyttö opens with a brilliantly edited passage recording working-class […]

SHADOWS IN PARADISE (Aki Kaurismäki, 1986)

The launch of Finnish writer-director Aki Kaurismäki’s “proletarian trilogy” (the other entries are Ariel, 1988, and The Match Factory Girl, 1990), Varjoja paratiisissa is characteristically quirky, terse and humorous while nonetheless hinting depths of loneliness and alienation below the surface of wage-slave working-class lives. It is a thin, minor piece, but indicative of the style […]