Drifting Clouds (1996)
"Kauas pilvet karkaavat" (original title)

 |  Comedy, Drama  |  10 July 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 4,675 users  
Reviews: 21 user | 18 critic

The recession hits a couple in Helsinki.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kari Väänänen ...
Elina Salo ...
Rouva Sjöholm (Mrs. Sjöholm)
Sakari Kuosmanen ...
Matti Onnismaa ...
Matti Pellonpää ...
Lapsi valokuvassa (Child in the Photograph)
Pietari ...
Pianisti (Pianist)
Markus Allan ...
Orkesteri (Band)
Pauli Granfelt ...
Orkesteri (Band)
Kari Lindqvist ...
Orkesteri (Band)
Pentti Mutikainen ...
Orkesteri (Band)
Tommi Parkkonen ...
Orkesteri (Band)
Taisto Wesslin ...
Orkesteri (Band)


Tram driver Lauri loses his job. Shortly later, the restaurant where his wife Ilona works as a head waitress is closed. Too proud to receive money from the social welfare system, they strive to find new jobs. But they are completely unlucky and clumsy, one disaster is followed by the next. Written by Frank Wallner <wallnerf@informatik.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


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Release Date:

10 July 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Drifting Clouds  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


FIM 5,562,154 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

ITL 394,049,000 (Italy) (2 May 1997)


ITL 979,201,000 (Italy) (6 June 1997)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Although most of the films directed by Aki Kaurismäki take place in Helsinki, which is a bilingual city, this is the first of his movies where someone speaks Swedish. See more »


Melartin: Let's take the whole bottle, it's cheaper
See more »


Referenced in Sodankylä Forever: Valon draama (2010) See more »


Kuumat tuulet
Composed by Rauno Lehtinen
Lyrics by Tuula Valkama
Arranged by Taisto Wesslin
Performed by Markus Allan and His Orchestra
Recorded and Mixed by Markku Kyyhkynen
See more »

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User Reviews

Gloomy but good
10 February 2005 | by (Silver Lake, Ohio, USA) – See all my reviews

I particularly liked Man Without A Past, by the same director, and this is much in the same vein. A couple having financial difficulties tries to make their way. Sounds like all of us. Only this couple delivers delicious witty dialogue in a deadpan style that cracks me up every time. Even their fights and make ups are so understated that it's a style all it's own. Don't look for the obvious here, it's hidden under a layer of Finnish humor so opaque that you have to watch very closely to see even a glimmer of laughter in anyone's eye.

The film is gloomy, depressing, bleak, but somehow it does your heart good. Even when things seem to be at their worst, you can't help but feel that the hardworking and honest couple will manage to somehow get back on solid ground and right with the world. You want them to. You need them to. They simply must, or your poor little heart will break.

It's hard to describe this film because nothing much seems to happen, there are only the normal setbacks of life in the low income zone, but by the end you realize that you've seen a great movie and are happy with it. What helps keep you interested are the dialogue and the understated style. For example, why do all the men wear their hair the same way? Does anyone own clothes that aren't drab? Why does all the furniture look like it's from the 1950's? All these questions and more will occur to you while watching the film and wondering if anyone will ever crack a smile.

23 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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