Notably bleak. Noir infused with a city symphony - a city putrid with corruption. The way a fable is parasitic to ideals. The values of a capitalist structure - stoicism, growth, surface beauty - is wielded to cripple the underdog, and the ways the underdog might be complicit. I'll only accept this nihilism because I know the true Aki, and this contains his sadness and beauty by the way.
Kaurismaki seems to have lodged himself right in my heart, and Lights In The Dusk sits near the top of that list. I never expected his deadpan cynicism to work so well for me, but his composition really sells it. Kaurismaki and Roy Andersson make for a fun combo.
Beautifully shot, but extremely poorly written. A protagonist that is completely unworthy of our rooting interest. Just an utter loss for this film because we start to actively root against this guy who is self-destructive and a jerk to the one nice character in the entire film. Bad writing... but it sure is visually nice.
Watching LITD for the first time a decade after its release, I realized a) that Kaurismaki must be the main inspiration for the directors of the Greek New Wave (e.g. Yorgos Lanthimos and Athina Rachel Tsangari) and b) the laughter of the protagonist in the prison's yard completely destroyed the fictional coherence of the film.
Kaurismaki shows us how our lives can be changed to drastic if certain people cross our way, even if your way of living is peacefull and you re an exemplar person. Koistinen was one of these person, but unfortunately his life turned into a storm. His passivity is very suitable to Kaurismaki s way of building his remarkable characters: Coldness and acidity, still you can have a lot of feelings for them.
The music and minimalist aesthetic are exceptional, but the deadpan acting was hit-or-miss. At times the "non-acting" added depth to the characters, and at times I felt bored with the repetition of drollery. The femme fatale Mirja, played by Maria Järvenhelmi, reminded me of Kim Novak's character in Vertigo.
The Bresson-like non-acting was perfect with this material. Though the film did not astonish me in any way, I was most impressed with the lead performance. He is excellent from situation to situation. The only moment I felt was a misstep for both he and the director was the laughter in the prison yard. The lighting was also interesting, with lots of harsh shadows. Good introduction to this filmmaker for me.