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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 »


The Director is seen in reflection of Frank's (Sakke Järvenpää) sunglasses in "My friend got sick, can you help us" scene. 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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Featured in Keskiyön auringon kuvat (1987) See more »


Composed by Kaarlo Valkama
Lyrics by Usko Kemppi
Arranged by Kaarlo Valkama
Performed by Olavi Virta and Kalevi Hartti's Orchestra
Vocals: Olavi Virta
From the record:
Olavi Virta (Triola, T-4039, 9.1.1952)
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User Reviews

Weird and funny...
14 September 2006 | by MaxBorg89See all my reviews

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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