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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dedicated to the memory of Matti Pellonpää (who was frequently cast by director Aki Kaurismäki) for whom the main role was originally intended. The child who can be seen in the photo is Pellonpää, a homage. See more »
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.
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