Based on the true childhood experiences of Noah Baumbach and his brother, The Squid and the Whale tells the touching story of two young boys dealing with their parents' divorce in Brooklyn in the 1980s.
Acting under the cover of a Hollywood producer scouting a location for a science fiction film, a CIA agent launches a dangerous operation to rescue six Americans in Tehran during the U.S. hostage crisis in Iran in 1980.
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
Pleasant, but the once-fresh Kaurismäki keeps making the same film again and again
In the 2011 production LE HAVRE, the Finnish auteur Aki Kaurismäki steps away from his usual Helsinki setting for the first in what will be a trilogy of films in port cities. Always rooting for the underdogs, Kaurismäki this time concentrates not just on the disenfranchised urban lower class, but on a socioeconomic strata arguably lower than them: illegal immigrants. Middle-aged shoeshiner Marcel (André Wilms), who lives in a run-down neighbourhood with loving wife Arletty (Kati Outinen) meets Idrissa (Blondin Miguel), a child who has found his way from Gabon to France inside a shipping container. Marcel decides to shelter the boy and see him on to England, his intended destination, but detective Monet (Jean-Pierre Darroussin) is on their heels.
In spite of the French setting, this remains a very Finnish film in its sparse dialogue and deadpan humour. Kaurismäki yet again uses a very drab colour scheme and sets the film ostensibly in the present, but with cars, radios and rock music dating from the 1950s. Like nearly every film he has made, there is a musical performance by an oldies rock 'n' roll band, complete with pompadours and leather jackets. This is getting appallingly repetitive. Basically, if you've seen any two previous Kaurismäki films, then you'll find almost nothing new in the aesthetic and even the plot.
That said, this is a more life-affirming film than his last, the absolutely bleak LÄHIKAUPINGIN VALOT of 2006. Kaurismäki is clearly concerned with the plight of those who would escape sub-Saharan Africa by any means necessary, and this leads the viewer to reflection, but his exposé of detention centres and police harassment becomes a bit didactic at times.
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