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Calamari Union (1985)

Not Rated | | Comedy | 8 February 1985 (Finland)
An exodus to a better life in Eira


Aki Kaurismäki


Aki Kaurismäki


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Timo Eränkö Timo Eränkö ... Frank
Kari Heiskanen Kari Heiskanen ... Frank
Asmo Hurula Asmo Hurula ... Frank
Sakke Järvenpää ... Frank
Sakari Kuosmanen ... Frank Armoton (as Saku Kuosmanen)
Dave Lindholm Dave Lindholm ... Mies rannalla
Mikko Mattila Mikko Mattila ... Frank
Pate Mustajärvi ... Frank
Tuomari Nurmio ... Taksikuski (as Hannu Nurmio)
Pirkka-Pekka Petelius ... Frank
Matti Pellonpää ... Frank
Pertti Sveholm Pertti Sveholm ... Frank
Martti Syrjä ... Frank
Pantse Syrjä Pantse Syrjä ... Frank
Markku Toikka ... Pekka


Fourteen desperate men named Frank, band together to escape from a repressive section of Helsinki. An English-speaking non-Frank named Pekka joins the barroom conspirators, whose avoidance of last names, and any affect, help them outsmart overwhelming forces as they sneak through dark subway tunnels and alleys, hoping against despair to reach magical seaside Eira. The Calamari Unionists take advantage of unending night to venture their intrepid journey. Written by David Stevens

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

alley | tunnel | subway | journey | city | See All (23) »




Not Rated | See all certifications »





Finnish | English | Spanish

Release Date:

8 February 1985 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

Calamari Union See more »

Filming Locations:

Eira, Helsinki, Finland See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Near the end of the movie, a character says: "The mother's sure going to forgive us yet." Exactly the same dialogue line is heard in Mika Kaurismäki's film "Klaani", which premiered a few months before this one. See more »


When the Franks break into the nightclub for a drink and are sitting at the bar, the boom is clearly visible in one of the mirrors behind the bar. See more »


[first lines]
Frank: Gentlemen! I don't want to tire you and especially myself by going through those many reasons which make life completely impossible in this part of the city. We all know the circumstances forced on us in our early years: crowded homes, ignorance and hunger. Not to mention the bad air conditioning in the busses with their irregular timetables. In this part of the city there are more hills than anywhere else in the world. Loose-running kids and dogs make it impossible to move in the ...
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Features Father Sergius (1918) See more »


Strictly Instrumental
Composed and arranged by John Coltrane
Performed by John Coltrane and the Jazz Giants
From the record:
John Coltrane (Modern Jazz Festival, J- 1245, October 1957)
See more »

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User Reviews

Helsinki Warriors
13 November 2016 | by mim-8See all my reviews

A homage to acclaimed 1979 Walter Hill film "The Warriors",(it even features a subway car), done in Kaurismäki peculiar, Godard inspired style, "Calamari Union" shows a group of uniformed named man, as opposed to uniforms of gang colors, fighting their way through Helsinki, trying to get to the promised neighborhood of Eira, not their native, but wishful place of living, where "there are no apartments". Along the way they meet and befall casualties to all sorts of transient enemies, asking for trouble as they go along. Their journey is futile, an attempt to overcome nonexistent and unseen boundaries, doomed from the start. Their resolve is even questionable and strong willed women are often derailing them from their unsure path, as the obstacles appear before them as a mirage.

Shot in typical Kaurismäki minimalist style, black & white photography, improvised dialog on a loosely based script, "Calamari Union", succeeds in bringing a viewer close to chaotic nature of the group's quest. This film is definitely worth repeated viewings, just for substance and style. Recommended.

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