Iris has a dead-end job in a match-factory, lives with her dour and forbidding parents, and her social life is a disaster. But when she is made pregnant after a one-night stand by a man who... See full summary »
A 57 minute documentary of a Helsinki concert featuring the Leningrad Cowboys and the Alexandrov Red Army Choir and Ballet, who collaborate on a number of US Rock songs sung in English (... See full summary »
Alexandrov Red Army Ensemble,
The movie tells the story of Taisto Kasurinen, a finnish coal miner whose father has just committed suicide and who is framed for a crime he did not commit. In jail, he starts to dream ... See full summary »
Talkative, hyperactive young drifter Ville Alfa goes around Helsinki, basically trying to borrow money from friends and strangers by means of an incessant delivery of quirky and snappy quasi-intellectual lines and fabricated excuses.
Two men, Nieminen and Varjola, commit a mail van robbery. Varjola betrays his friend: shoots him and takes the loot. Nieminen is arrested, but he refuses to reveal his accomplice's name. On... See full summary »
Iris has a dead-end job in a match-factory, lives with her dour and forbidding parents, and her social life is a disaster. But when she is made pregnant after a one-night stand by a man who thought she was a prostitute, she decides that enough is enough and plans her revenge... Written by
Michael Brooke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A simple, unhurried, beautiful, minimalist modern fable
With THE MATCH FACTORY GIRL Kaurismaki might not tread new ground but instead perfects the stylistic hallmarks that marked him apart from most other directors of his generation. His work is that of a sculptor, hacking away at all the cinematic fat, shaping form by removing that which is not necessary. His movies as an extension of his sculptory approach attain an almost hypnotic quality - or perhaps boring uneventfulness for others. He's not at all trying to hit emotionally draining highs and lows but build a rhythmic lull, a soothing pace created of flows and ebbs that move with imperceptible change. As a result, his movies never hurry to get anywhere fast and when they get there not a whole lot happens. It's all about appreciating how they got there and the stylistic subtleties of that journey.
THE MATCH FACTORY GIRL finds Kaurismaki shunning dialogue even more than previous efforts, if that's even possible without making a modern silent picture. Which it pretty much is. The entirety of the dialogue doesn't amount to more than 1 minute and that too is used more as a form of punctuation to the images - he could easily have done the movie completely without dialogues if he so wanted. The story could have been summed up in a 20 minute short yet Kaurismaki stretches it to 65 minutes, a meagre duration by most people's standards, which here feels like a good 90 minutes.
Although the material is perhaps the most bleak and brooding he had done at that point in his career since his debut CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, it is spiced up by moments of his trademark glacial humour. A certain scene in bar involving a drunk, sleazy patron and rat poison had me laughing out loud, which is a minor success for a film of this kind. The most dramatic scenes are delivered with that same kind of deadpan unaffection that immediately acquires a serio-comic air for that reason.
Although it lacks the playfulness of its predecessor (ARIEL), this is still Kaurismaki in top visual form. He has a way with images and how he orchestrates them that is quite unparalleled at his level. Sure he's not a director of epic works and spectacle but he's carved a niche for himself over the years that has his name and particular sensibilities written all over it and he's been content to work within it. If you like his style, this is a safebet. If you're a newcomer I'd suggest starting with something like ARIEL.
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