Tram driver Lauri loses his job. Shortly later, the restaurant where his wife Ilona works as a head waitress is closed. Too proud to receive money from the social welfare system, they strive to find new jobs. But they are completely unlucky and clumsy, one disaster is followed by the next. Finally, their courage, confidence, and their unbreakable love triumph over the fate. –IMDb
Aki Kaurismäki did a wide variety of jobs including postman, dish-washer and film critic, before forming a production and distribution company, Villealfa (in homage to Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville, une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution (1965)) with his older brother Mika Kaurismäki, also a film-maker. Both Aki and Mika are prolific film-makers, and together have been responsible for one-fifth of the total output of the Finnish film industry since the early 1980s, though Aki’s work has found more favour abroad. His films are very short (he says a film should never run longer than 90 minutes, and many of his films are nearer 70), eccentric parodies of various genres (road movies, film noir, rock musicals), populated by lugubrious hard-drinking Finns and set to eclectic soundtracks, typically based around ‘50s rock’n’roll.
In the 1990s he has made films in Britain (I Hired a Contract Killer (1990)) and France (La vie de bohème (1992)). —IMDb
Deadpan reigns, but as does a compassion, ease and sincerity that can re-spark one’s belief in both love and cinema with but one blank caress or dispassionate one-liner. The crooning, swooning soundtrack and pastel sets harking back to an age of romance and kinship - wholesome, true - gone by, contrast and augment the painful navigating through the vices of modern life - capitalism, consumerism; both of which are painted far colder than any deadpan on display.
You get no easy emotions from Aki Kaurismaki, when his characters are down they are stone face, when they are happy there is nary a smile, when they are sad hardly a tear. But he loves his characters, and it's hard not to love his mise-en-scene, which fills drab frames with color and deadpan humor. This mid-90's effort is one of the clearest examples of his unique style, and it goes down smooth.
There once was a happy couple in Helsinki. A recession hits and both lose their jobs. They go from hardship to hardship, pushed around at every turn. They revise their expectations, and adjust their… read review