IMDb > The Match Factory Girl (1990)
Tulitikkutehtaan tyttö
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The Match Factory Girl (1990) More at IMDbPro »Tulitikkutehtaan tyttö (original title)

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Down 26% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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Release Date:
6 November 1992 (USA) See more »
Iris has a dead-end job in a match-factory, lives with her dour and forbidding parents, and her social life is a disaster... See more » | Add synopsis »
8 wins & 3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
no love, no future, a desire for revenge See more (31 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Kati Outinen ... Iiris
Elina Salo ... Mother
Esko Nikkari ... Stepfather
Vesa Vierikko ... Aarne
Reijo Taipale ... The singer
Silu Seppälä ... Iiris' brother

Outi Mäenpää ... Iiris' co-worker
Marja Packalén ... The doctor
Richard Reitinger ... Man in the bar
Helka Viljanen ... Office employee (as Helga Viljanen)
Kurt Siilas ... Policeman
Ismo Keinänen ... Policeman
Klaus Heydemann ... Worker
Erkki Friman ... Member of dance band
Tapani Ikonen ... Member of dance band
Jari Lappalainen ... Member of dance band
Lasse Luoto ... Member of dance band

Directed by
Aki Kaurismäki 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Aki Kaurismäki 

Produced by
Katinka Faragó .... producer (as Katinka Farago)
Aki Kaurismäki .... producer
Klas Olofsson .... producer
Cinematography by
Timo Salminen 
Film Editing by
Aki Kaurismäki 
Art Direction by
Risto Karhula 
Set Decoration by
Kari Laine 
Production Management
Klaus Heydemann .... production manager
Jaakko Talaskivi .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Pauli Pentti .... assistant director
Art Department
Heikki Ukkonen .... property master
Sound Department
Tom Forsström .... sound mixer
Juuso Hirvikangas .... assistant sound recordist
Nina Jansson .... sound synchronisation
Jouko Lumme .... sound
Camera and Electrical Department
Marja-Leena Helin .... still photographer
Börje Hellen .... assistant camera (as Börje Hellén)
Olavi Tuomi .... lighting technician
Pekka Uotila .... assistant camera
Olli Varja .... lighting technician
Editorial Department
Eila Karkkunen .... negative cutter (as Eila Karttunen)
Music Department
Erkki Friman .... musician
Tapani Ikonen .... musician
Jari Lappalainen .... musician
Lasse Luoto .... musician
Other crew
Haije Alanoja .... production secretary
Erkki Astala .... publicist
Marja-Leena Helin .... script supervisor
M. Laaksonen .... title designer
Pirjo Laivuori .... color definitions
Jan-Eric Nyström .... title designer (as J-E Nyström)
Jaana Puhakka .... production assistant
Sinikka Usvamaa .... accountant (as Sinikka Telaranta)
Willmar Andersson .... thanks
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Tulitikkutehtaan tyttö" - Finland (original title)
See more »
68 min
Color (Eastmancolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

[first lines]
Iiris:Half pint, please!
See more »
Movie Connections:
HerbstlaubSee more »


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40 out of 43 people found the following review useful.
no love, no future, a desire for revenge, 5 May 2005
Author: dbdumonteil

Iris is a young Finnish girl whose life has no horizon. She works in a match factory and still lives at her parents'. She escapes by reading soppy love stories or by attending a dance. One night, she thinks she has found Prince Charming. But the latter reveals himself a scornful human being who has no consideration for her. Then, she is chased away by her parents and relies on her brother's generosity to put her up. But Iris didn't say her last word and she decides to prepare a plan to have a revenge on the ones who couldn't love her.

In the nineteenth Century, Andersen, a Danish writer wrote a tale entitled "the little match girl". Here, the film-maker Aki Kaurismäki kept certain elements of this tale to create in his own way, a sort of updated version. And it's a much more austere one so much that it virtually evokes Robert Bresson's cinema. This is how I perceive "the Match Factory Girl" (1990): a cross between a modernized version of Andersen's tale and Bresson's cinema for the straight-forward style and the intense austerity in which the story bathes.

Aki Kaurismäki seems to have understood that to give his movie a big dramatic intensity, ostentation and exaggeration were to be excluded. The amount? A grievous movie which hurts where everything in the cinema writing is reduced to simplicity, nearly stillness and despair. This, to better express the dreary world in which Iris is prisoner and the wrong hopes she comes up against. Barely camera movements (the movie nearly looks like a succession of paintings), sinister scenery, blue-green lighting, dumb or merciless characters blend themselves to create a universe impenetrable to happiness. To plunge more in this desolate world, Kaurismäki nearly shot a silent movie, only scattered by laconic and reduced in the extreme dialogs. But to tell the truth, dialogs are not the most important thing. Looks matter more and reveal best the characters' thoughts and feelings.

The director's sympathy towards Iris and making her put up at her brother's are the only pities he shows and his movie would be of a total blackness if there wasn't humor. A humor which acts in an ironic way: "I came to tell you goodbye...".

Overrall, this grave movie about the lack of love strikes right at the heart and its vision is rather difficult. If you are down in the dumps, save it for a better day. It's a short movie (hardly an hour) but Iris' pale and retiring countenance stays rooted for a long time in the spectator's brain. And Kati Outinen, impressive of fragility and sensitiveness is perfect in this role.

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