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A dock worker in Le Havre hears a human sound inside one of the containers in port, that container which left Gabon three weeks ago and which was supposed to arrive in London five days after its departure from Gabon, which didn't happen. The Le Havre police and French border guards find a still alive group of illegal African immigrants inside. On the sign from one of his elders, a young teen boy among the illegal immigrants manages to escape, news of which hits the local media. The first friendly face that boy, Idrissa, encounters is that of former artist now aged shoeshine Marcel Marx. Marcel decides to help Idrissa by hiding him in his house, news which slowly trickles through his community of friends - most of whom he associates with at his local bar - and neighbors, most who assist Marcel in this task. Marcel goes to great lengths to find out Idrissa's story, which leads to Marcel's further task of trying to get Idrissa to London, his original end destination. The one neighbor who... Written by
Like every fairy-tale, this film by Aki Kaurismaki is unbelievable, but this apparent fake doesn't hide a sad reality behind the good intentions of the simple people that help the illegal immigrant child to arrive finally to London, wherein we couldn't predict what kind of life waits for him. A slow rhythm, (some scenes seem like stills), and a brilliant and strong color that contribute to the atmosphere of unreality, the frustration to the normal expectations of the viewers that are carried to imagine the worst, and receive on the contrary the sudden impact of the best, don't prevent to bring to the conscience the images of the cruel world that surrounds the miracle of solidarity that saves, perhaps momentarily, just one of the hundred persecuted. The bad and the good boys are generally discovered by the camera, which leaves, significantly, in off the figure of the pitiless chief of policy, and introduces in darkness the figure of the denouncer. Le Havre is an optimist movie with a very dubious happy end.
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