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The Man Without a Past (2002)
"Mies vailla menneisyyttä" (original title)

7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 15,828 users   Metascore: 84/100
Reviews: 113 user | 102 critic | 29 from Metacritic.com

The second part of Aki Kaurismäki's "Finland" trilogy, the film follows a man who arrives in Helsinki and gets beaten up so severely he develops amnesia. Unable to remember his name or ... See full summary »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 23 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
M
...
Irma
Juhani Niemelä ...
Nieminen
Kaija Pakarinen ...
Kaisa Nieminen
Sakari Kuosmanen ...
Annikki Tähti ...
Manager of Flea Market
Anneli Sauli ...
Bar Owner
Elina Salo ...
Dock Clerk
...
Bank Clerk
Esko Nikkari ...
Bank Robber
Pertti Sveholm ...
Police Detective
Matti Wuori ...
Layer
Aino Seppo ...
Ex-wife
Janne Hyytiäinen ...
Ovaskainen
Antti Reini ...
Electrician
Edit

Storyline

The second part of Aki Kaurismäki's "Finland" trilogy, the film follows a man who arrives in Helsinki and gets beaten up so severely he develops amnesia. Unable to remember his name or anything from his past life, he cannot get a job or an apartment, so he starts living on the outskirts of the city and slowly starts putting his life back on track. Written by Jussi Tarvainen <jussi_tarvainen_84@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

6 November 2002 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Man Without a Past  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

FIM 8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$23,281 (USA) (4 April 2003)

Gross:

$921,547 (USA) (19 September 2003)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film won the London Evening Standard's "Palm Dog" award at the Cannes Film Festival for the best animal role. The winning dog's name, aptly, is Tähti ("Star" in Finnish). See more »

Goofs

The Helsinki railway station's extension roof is clearly visible at the opening scene, but it hadn't been build yet in 1996 (the year can be read from the newspaper). See more »

Quotes

[M is cooking dinner]
Irma: Are you sure I can't help?
M: I think it's ruined already.
See more »

Connections

Followed by Lights in the Dusk (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Hawaii No Yoru
Performed by Crazy Ken Band
(Ken Yokoyama)
Published by BMG Funhouse Music
Publishing/Double Joy Records
From Crazy Ken Band's album "Goldfish Bowl"
(P) & © 1999 Double Joy Records
Licensed courtesy of Double Joy Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Unique, astounding piece of Finnish cinema
10 October 2006 | by (Italy) – See all my reviews

The Man Without a Past, the second installment in Aki Kaurismäki's "losers" trilogy (the first being 1996's Drifting Clouds), is, to date, the only Finnish film to have received a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nomination, and deservedly so. It's a wonderful, heartbreaking opus, and arguably Kaurismäki's finest movie.

At the story's center we find a nameless man (Markku Peltola), who arrives in Helsinki for unknown reasons. That same night, he's brutally assaulted by a group of punks. This incident makes him look dead, although we immediately learn he is alive, if completely amnesiac. With no idea of who he is or what he's supposed to do, he starts looking for a home and an employment. He manages to rent a "house" in the city outskirts (don't miss Sakari Kuosmanen as the landlord) and befriends Irma (Kati Outinen), a social worker who tries to help M (in lack of a better name, and given "X" is quite overused) as much as possible. It is this friendship, which slowly evolves into something deeper, that truly motivates the protagonist in his pursuit of a better life.

The Man Without a Past strikes us because, unlike other films involving amnesia, it makes us hope M won't recover his memory: what he experiences throughout the movie, the people he meets, that's what really matters. It's a little bit like a road movie (they never end with the characters reaching their destination), only this time the voyage involves the mind and the spirit. It's a similar voyage the director asks the audience to join, as he artfully explores human life and its chances of improvement.

Moving and reminiscent of Italian neorealism (De Sica, Rossellini, Visconti), The Man Without a Past is a flawless reflection on how happiness is to be found anywhere, no matter the circumstances.


25 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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