In this warmhearted portrait of the French harbor city that gives the film its name, fate throws young African refugee Idrissa (Blondin Miguel) into the path of Marcel Marx (André Wilms), a well-spoken bohemian who works as a shoeshiner. With innate optimism and the unwavering support of his community, Marcel stands up to officials doggedly pursuing the boy for deportation. A political fairy tale that exists somewhere between the reality of contemporary France and the classic cinema of Jean-Pierre Melville and Marcel Carné, Le Havre is a charming, deadpan delight. —The Criterion Collection
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
Uplifting without the usual Hollywood sugar-coating, this simple tale kept reminding me of a modern-day Capra.
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A look at the posters for the films in the main slate of this year’s New York Film Festival.
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I think my favorite thing in Le Havre, Aki Kaurismäki's blend of fable-style plotting, classical studio storytelling, and a real world
Etrange objet cinématrographique, qui évoque un Rhomer empesé ou un Jeunet/Caro allégé, la réalisation de Kaurismaki est toute entière portée par ses acteurs, dans la grande tradition de l’inexpressivité… read review
Kaurismäki presents us with vision of nowadays Europe as a hipsters’ paradise (or hallucination). Mise-en-scène is filled with all things vintage, fetishistically evoking some undefined bygone era… read review