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

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 2,376 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)

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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

Country:

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 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 »

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

Followed by Ariel (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Jungle Rock
Written by Hank Mitzell, James Bobo, Bill Collins and Ralph Simonton
Performed by Hank Mitzell
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Unconventional and romantic fable..."
12 January 2012 | by (Norway) – See all my reviews

Finnish writer and director Aki Kaurismaki's third feature film is the first in his trilogy about the Finnish working-class which was succeeded by "Ariel" (1988) and "The Match Factory Girl" (1990). It tells the story of middle-aged garbage driver Nikander who is approached one day at work by his colleague who has decided that he refuses to end his days behind the steering wheel. Nikander's friend presents him with an idea about starting an own company and wants him as his partner. Nikander likes the idea, but when his friend dies from a heart attack the following day, Nikander loses his faith. Nikander continues his days with driving garbage and attending an English course until the day he spots cashier lady IIona. Nikander invites her out on a date, but she loses interest in him when he brings her along to play bingo. Nikander proceeds with his ritualistic life, but the day IIona is fired from her job he receives a call which reimburses his faith. IIona wants to go to Helsinki and together they embark on a trip towards brighter prospects.

Finnish director Mika Kaurismaki's little brother Aki Kaurismäki, one of Europe's greatest and most original filmmakers, has created a distinctly innovating and minimalistic style of filmmaking with films such as "I Hired A Contract Killer" (1990), "Drifting Clouds" (1996) and "The Man Without A Past" (2002). His low-keyed, stringently structured and bittersweet films are characterized by few characters, minimal dialog, dry and sarcastic humor and a language which without exception is standard Finnish. The genius with Aki Kaurismäki is that through his remarkable stories he manages to clarify the precious value of humor. This Finnish production which was produced by Aki Kaurismäki's older brother Mika Kaurismäki is a subtle and simple story about two love seeking human beings who due to their modest nature is distanced from one another and who creates unnecessary obstacles for one another. They both have hopes and dreams of a greater and better life, but their ideals are repeatedly challenged by faith's unpredictable intervention.

The directing, the cinematography, the film editing, the narrative, the dialog, the atmosphere, the pace and the very realistic milieu depictions is in accordance with Aki Kaurismäki's usual style in this acute comedy drama about everyday life, interpersonal relations, identity, love and the Finnish working-class during the late 1980s. The acting performances by the director's frequent collaborators Kati Outinen and Matti Pellonpää (1951-1995) is marvellous and their characters' colorful personalities creates a fine contrast to the films underlying melancholy. This character-driven and dialog-driven joy spreader which gained the award for Best Film at the Jussi Awards in 1987 presents the viewers to an incomparable cinematic universe and it is an unconventional and romantic fable with a great heart and a poetry of faith that is drifting through the gray toned shadows which rests above Aki Kaurismäki's rare paradise.


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