A bizarre black-and-white film noir reworking of Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'. After the death of his father, young Hamlet inherits a seat on the board of a company controlled by his uncle that ... See full summary »
Lugubrious Finns Valto and Reino take to the road in search of coffee and vodka, without which their lives are not worth living. But their reveries are interrupted by the arrival of ... See full summary »
After fifteen years' service, Henri Boulanger is made redundant from his job. Shocked, he attempts suicide, but can't go through with it, so he hires a contract killer in a seedy bar to ... See full summary »
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
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 »
The Director is seen in reflection of Frank's (Sakke Järvenpää) sunglasses in "My friend got sick, can you help us" scene. See more »
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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Aki Kaurismäki's career began with the masterpiece Crime & Punishment. However, instead of making something similar immediately afterwards, he chose to follow it with an unconventional, black and white satire, Calamari Union.
The film begins in a bar, a pivotal place in Kaurismaki's movies. It is here we first meet our sixteen protagonists: fifteen men (including Matti Pellonpää, Kari Väänänen and Sakari Kuosmanen) all named Frank (apparently, the director was too lazy to come up with different names for everyone) and a guy named Pekka (Markku Toikka). These people represent the lowlife of Helsinki and, aware of this fact, they decide to go to Eira, the decent part of the city. The journey is described as if it were perilous, and in fact things will take unexpected turns.
Calamari Union is a strange film, as it doesn't follow the rules of conventional plotting. What we see is rather a series of separate, quite amusing incidents involving the Franks and Pekka, the dry, very Finnish humor being an anticipation of Kaurismäki's musical satire Leningrad Cowboys Go America (speaking of music, there's an interesting use of the song Stand By Me - a year ahead of Rob Reiner's eponymous movie).
This may not be the kind of movie people watch on a regular basis, but once it's been seen, it doesn't escape your memory. Perfect for a "different" cinema experience.
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