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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>
Kaurismaki is nothing if not an efficient director. The stylistic elements of 'The Match Factory Girl' are distilled, like the vodka that is drunk throughout, to produce an intense and disturbing effect. Much of the action goes on outside the characteristically static camera frame, and Kati Outinen's deadpan face conveys a correspondingly broad range of expressions (she is excellent at signalling imminent vomiting without appearing to twitch a muscle). It's a film that moves on and out with the minimum of movement and dialogue, and its downwards pull is mesmerising. It's also bitterly funny. Late in the film the main character, Iris, approaches the shop counter and asks for a bottle of rat poison, to which the reply is: 'Small or large?'
I was fairly low when I saw this film. I came out feeling marvellous. Another triumph for the relief to be found in misery, a paradox which Kaurismaki cheerfully exploits in his dark, tragic & hilarious films.
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