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"Aki, ze bear"

Rental Special

Ariel

Aki Kaurismäki Finland, 1988

In Kaurismäki’s drolly existential crime drama, a coal miner attempts to leave behind a provincial life of inertia and economic despair, only to get into ever deeper trouble. Yet a minor-key romance with a hilariously dispassionate meter maid might provide a light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

Calamari Union

Aki Kaurismäki Finland, 1985

Avant-garde, experimental and misogynist in the bargain, this oddball film is about 17 men named Frank who make their way through Helsinki in a commandeered subway car.

Crime and Punishment

Aki Kaurismäki Finland, 1983

Inspired by Dostoyevsky’s famous novel, this engrossing Finnish version of “Crime and Punishment” revolves around an ex-law student in Helsinki (Markku Toikka) who now works in a slaughterhouse.

Hamlet Goes Business

Aki Kaurismäki Finland, 1987

A black-and-white film noir reworking of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. After the death of his father, young Hamlet inherits a seat on the board of a company controlled by his uncle that decides to move into the rubber duck market. But Hamlet is suspicious of the circumstances surrounding his father’s death.

I Hired a Contract Killer

Aki Kaurismäki Germany, 1990

After losing his job and realizing that he is alone in the world, a businessman opts to voluntarily end his life. Lacking courage, he hires a contract killer to do the job. Then, while awaiting his demise, he meets a woman and promptly falls in love.

Lights in the Dusk

Aki Kaurismäki Finland, 2006

Koistinen is a security man who becomes a victim of a femme fatale and of a gang. They leave him alone to face the consequences of his loyalty. A poignant reminder of the lot of the emotional ‘have-nots’ in our world that glows with genuine warmth and a small but enriching glimmer of hope.

The Man Without a Past

Aki Kaurismäki Finland, 2002

The film follows a man who arrives in Helsinki and gets beaten up so severely he develops amnesia. He starts his life from scratch, living in container dwellings, finding clothes with help from the Salvation Army and making friends with the poor.

Leningrad Cowboys: These Boots

Aki Kaurismäki Finland, 1993

A music video directed by Aki Kaurismäki for Leningrad Cowboy’s cover of “These Boots Are Made for Walkin”.

Rocky VI

Aki Kaurismäki Finland, 1986

Definitely not to be confused with any of Sylvester Stallone’s efforts, this is a wicked satire on ‘Rocky IV’, in which Rocky takes on the monolithic Russian fighter Igor – and loses. A serious-minded declaration on cultural policy; a collision of Finnish patriotism and mass entertainment.

Those Were the Days

Aki Kaurismäki Finland, 1992

As the Leningrad Cowboys sing ‘Those Were the Days’, a solitary man leading a donkey is turned away at a restaurant door. He and the beast walk down to La Maison du Vin where, despite a “no donkeys” sign on the wall, they enter and he proceeds to feed the donkey with provisions from his pack.