synopsis – AMG:
A lonely night watchman finds love but comes to regret it in this offbeat comedy from Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki. Koiskinen (Janne Hyytiainen) works as a security guard at a shopping mall in Helsinki, where he keeps an eye on the place after hours. Koiskinen is a quiet nebbish who doesn’t have much luck with women, and the closest thing he has to a girlfriend is Aila (Maria Heiskanen), a woman who runs a sausage cart Koiskinen frequents after work, though he doesn’t realize she carries a torch for him. Koiskinen is killing time in a shabby café when he meets Mirja (Maria Jarvenhelmi), a beautiful blonde who appears to be interested in him. Koiskinen is immediately smitten and is willing to marry her even before they have their first date, but what he doesn’t know is Mirja’s interest in him is not sincere — she’s working with Lindholm (Ilkka Koivula), a career criminal who has hired her to get some security codes from Koiskinen so they can stage a heist at the mall where he works. However, even after Koiskinen is betrayed by Mirja and becomes the leading suspect in the robbery, he still loves her and can’t bring himself to tell the police what he’s learned about her. Laitakaupungin Valot (aka Lights In The Dusk) received its world premier at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. Continue reading
The film highlights a significant event in Finnish history — that during WWII, around 70,000 Finnish children were sent to Sweden among other countries to be temporarily hosted as their real parents stayed in Finland to continue in the war. The story is made accessible and immediate by taking us through the experiences of one child — Eero (Topi Majaniemi) — who as a 9-year old boy is dealing with language differences, a desire to return home, and a host family that can provide materially, but maybe not in the non-material ways that Eero really needs.
The documentary film Tobacco Girls is a story of working class women that were made redundant from the Amer tobacco company in the spring of 2004. It describes the last days in the factory and what kinds of problems women face in trying to find new jobs. The film follows the lives of the few women made redundant over a year and especially how this affects them and the kinds of problems they have to solve.
Most of these women have been working in the factory for the best part of their working lives and it is difficult to take on a new job. Younger women try to retrain themselves or are looking out for new employment. One of the main characters has a case being heard in a labour court because associates have afflicted her. The other one finds a solution by undertaking to be her mother´s carer.
The theme developed shows how globalization has changed the thinking in manufacturing. Factories are disbanded so that the production can be removed to an area where labour costs are lower, and like at Amer, to enhance the company image. Older workers become unemployed.
When her sister is mugged and raped, Oili, a young female forensic dentist, meets a group of abused women who have taken matters to their own hands to make the living in fear and just letting it happen stop.
In Aki Kaurismäki’s drolly existential crime drama, a coal miner named Taisto (Turo Pajala) 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 (Susanna Haavisto) might provide a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Ariel, which boasts a terrific soundtrack of Finnish tango and Baltic pop music and lovely cinematography by Kaurismäki’s longtime cameraman Timo Salmimen, put its director on the international map. Continue reading
The roughly beautiful Hilton! gives the viewer a glimpse of life in a modern society, a life that young persons lead. Janne, Toni, Mira, Pete and Make live in a tenement owned by a youth foundation. Their attempts to take control over their own lives have been in vain. Toni says that it is gruesome to see oneself as socially excluded, but apparently he is just that. Despite of these facts, the group sticks together. Make, the father figure, has his freezer full of food: nobody has to leave his place hungry.
Life gives each one a quantum of care, and the main characters find a little something to lean on in the world. Make cleans his apartment and by doing so, he also cleans the mess that his life has turned into. A baby girl Luna is born and fills her young mother with love. Hope lives in the heart of the tenement and its inhabitants. Continue reading
Pussikaljaelokuva shows us a, particularly trying, day in the life of three marginalized young men: Marsalkka (Jussi Nikkilä), Henninen (Eero Milonoff) and Lihis (Ylermi Rajamaa). They are just out to enjoy a nice summer’s day with the intention of playing yahtzee, but things don’t quite go their way. They have their run-ins with a recently deceased neighbor, uninterested under aged girls and the police. Being chronically broke, they even manage to flub a courtesy visit with the intention of loaning some drinking assets. Even their attempts at leaving Kallio prove utterly futile.
Kallio, a district of Helsinki, is the main setting of the film, and some would argue the film is a contemporary love letter to it. Finnish critics have especially praised the film’s loving depiction of Kallio.
Pussikaljaelokuva is a comedy with nary a plot, driven by characters and dialogue… And the power of friendship. Continue reading