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Shadows in Paradise (1986)
"Varjoja paratiisissa" (original title)

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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 2,772 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 22 critic

An episode in the life of Nikander, a garbage man, involving the death of a coworker, a love affair and much more.



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Title: Shadows in Paradise (1986)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Matti Pellonpää ...
Sakari Kuosmanen ...
Esko Nikkari ...
Co-worker (työkaveri)
Kylli Köngäs ...
Ilona's Girlfriend (ystävätär)
Pekka Laiho ...
Shop Steward (myymälänhoitaja)
Jukka-Pekka Palo ...
Third Man (kolmasmies)
Svante Korkiakoski ...
Police (poliisi)
Mari Rantasila ...
Nikander's Sister (Nikanderin sisar)
Safka Pekkonen ...
Pianist (pianisti) (as Safka)
Antti Ortamo ...
2nd pianist (pianisti II)
Mato Valtonen ...
Pelle (as Markku Valtonen)
Sakke Järvenpää ...
Staffan (as Sakari Järvenpää)
Ulla Kuosmanen ...
Melartin's wife (Melartinin vaimo)
Neka Haapanen ...
Cook (kokki)


Only connect. In gray, class-conscious Helsinki, Nikander is a stoic, solitary garbage man. Cigarettes, coffee, bingo games, and English lessons border his circumscribed life. There are few words, no smiles, and no laughter. Violence and the threat of violence seem close at hand. Ilona, a supermarket clerk who frequently loses her job, bandages Nikander's hand one evening; later he gets her out of a jam, and they begin an on-again off-again relationship. "Why do I keep losing?," Nikander asks his co-worker, Melartin, a man Nikander met in jail and helped get a job. Can he break his losing streak? Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Romance


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Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

17 October 1986 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Shadows in Paradise  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Towards the end, there's a scene where Nikander's friend talks about a problematic fellow worker named Mikkonen. Matti Pellonpää, who plays Nikander here, would later play Mikkonen in Ariel (1988), the second part of the Proletariat trilogy directed by Aki Kaurismäki. See more »


When Nikander and Ilona leave the gas station and ride down the road, they pass a white car. The white car is standing still in the middle of the road. Presumably they drove so fast that they passed the white car, but it stands still. See more »


[first lines]
Nikander: Friday!
Co-worker: [co-worker is offering Nikander a drink] You want?
Nikander: I'm driving.
Co-worker: Listen, Nikander. We've been a team quite a while. But I've been doing this for 25 years. I'm getting tired and so is my heart.
Nikander: What's the matter with it?
Co-worker: What ever.
Co-worker: I've got an idea - my own company. Five trucks to start with...
Nikander: What does it end?
Co-worker: The sky is the limit. The state and the banks will back us. I know everything about this game, but I'm not going to die behind the wheel.
See more »


Featured in Bohemian Eyes (2011) See more »


Written by Albert Collins
Performed by Albert Collins & The Icebreakers
See more »

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User Reviews

Helsinki not shown in travel brochures
20 December 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A great look at Helsinki you'll never see in any travel brochure. I went into this movie blind--and found it fun in removing me from the here and now. The tone is noirish and deadpan---the actors perfect for the roles. All of it was sort of believable in a humorous way which is key to this movie.

The movie was made in 1986 almost 30 years ago so it involves some time travel as well.

I recommend it is the sort of thing I like although I would not probably rush to watch it again...


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