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

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 2,270 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 21 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)

Shadows in Paradise (1986) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Matti Pellonpää ...
Nikander
...
Ilona Rajamäki
Sakari Kuosmanen ...
Melartin
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)
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

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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:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Featured in Bohemian Eyes (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Dile a tus ojos
Written by Guty Cárdenas
Performed by Guty Cárdenas
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User Reviews

 
Ingmar Bergman meets Jackie Vernon
8 September 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Some random observations:

1. Kaurismaki's "paradise" is grimy city streets, garbage, landfills, jails, flophouses, shabby apartments. Two kinds of people inhabit this Eden: either the few, the snooty, the well off – or the subverbal, poorly educated quasi-lumpen stumbling about among the aforementioned sites. The settings, both exterior and interior, belong more to the England of "The L Shaped Room" or "Billy Liar" than to the Scandinavia of travel agency brochures.

2. Kaurismaki delivers virtuoso satire founded upon the stereotypical shy, wordless Finn. But he offers more by pushing beyond stereotype to display a deep familiarity with the kind of people he shows on the screen. An American director similarly so in tune with his people might be Kevin Smith. A possible British counterpart? Maybe Ken Loach.

3. "Shadows in Paradise" is also a testament to Kaurismaki's confidence in the cinematic medium itself, in its power to tell stories using sight and sound without principal reliance on the material of theater or literature – words. We are accustomed to the many films about how XX meets XY, where the characters express feelings, establish plot, indeed, do just about everything through words. Sometimes we even get entire orations, regardless of a film's "realistic" intent. Dialogue rules everything from the quippy screenplays of Nora Ephron or Preston Sturges to the tangly Gallic word-webs of Eric Rohmer. The similarities between Ernest Borgnine and Betsy Blair in "Marty" and Matti Pellonpaa and Kati Outinen in "Shadows in Paradise" end with "Marty's" theatrical, dialogue-soaked provenance. It would be hard to transfer this film of Kaurismaki to page or stage. The story would weaken and likely die in print or any exclusively verbal form.

4. For his comedy Kaurismaki employs a delay-deadpan technique, something familiar to anyone who has seen the "punishment" sequences in Laurel and Hardy's "Tit for Tat' (1935) or who remembers the standup routines of Jackie Vernon in the 60's. Kaurismaki's comedies – and "Shadows in Paradise" is a good example – prove the technique still achieves the desired result: laughs. And like Jackie Vernon or Laurel and Hardy, Kaurismaki makes his words just another ingredient in the comedy. They are well chosen and sometimes hilarious but enjoy no special preference.

5. The movie screened the other night on TCM with the host's caution that this is an unusual sort of romantic comedy – but why the caution? And why the need for any "category" in the first place? To call this a "romantic comedy" and then warn people about its "quirky" or "offbeat"nature does it a double disservice. The warning for possible category transgression either implies that the film is deficient for disregarding certain "rules", or cautions the audience that it will be disappointed, since the movie does things it probably won't accept. But comedy, like so many things in life generally, thrives on surprise. In "Shadows in Paradise", Kaurismaki presents modern, free, prosperous Finland as a bizarre and rather dismal place which he proceeds to mine for laughter and the occasional tear. Whatever a television host labels it, the movie manages to be funny, entertaining – and accessible.

6. A Kaurismaki movie has a distinctive "feel", as strongly trademarked as the comedies of Lubitsch or Sennett.


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