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Calamari Union (1985)

An exodus to a better life in Eira

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Timo Eränkö ... Frank
Kari Heiskanen ... Frank
Asmo Hurula ... Frank
... Frank
... Frank Armoton (as Saku Kuosmanen)
Dave Lindholm ... Mies rannalla
Mikko Mattila ... Frank
... Frank
... Taksikuski (as Hannu Nurmio)
... Frank
... Frank
Pertti Sveholm ... Frank
... Frank
Pantse Syrjä ... Frank
... Pekka
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Storyline

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

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Plot Keywords:

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

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Comedy

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Details

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Release Date:

8 February 1985 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Союз Каламари  »

Filming Locations:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

'Aki Kaurismaki' said in an interview that this is the only film he has made where he either was drunk or had a serious hangover while shooting. See more »

Goofs

In the art museum, both the camera and boom operators are reflected in the glass on the paintings. See more »

Quotes

[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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Connections

Features Otets Sergiy (1918) See more »

Soundtracks

You're My Thrill
Composed by Jay Gorney
Lyrics by Sidney Clare
Performed by Billie Holiday & Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra
Vocals: Billie Holiday
From the record:
Billie Holiday (Decca Records, W75421A, 19.10.1949)
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User Reviews

A not entirely successful mix of absurd randomness, scathing social critique and eccentric, deadpan humor
7 October 2008 | by See all my reviews

Kaurismaki followed on the dour and heavy drama of his debut Crime and Punishment with the often funny, significantly more light-hearted, absurdist fare of Calamari Union. Fifteen guys named Frank and their retarded companion Pekka (who speaks English for some reason) decide to leave their seedy downtown neighborhood and dead-end lives behind and move to the suburb of Eira, on the other side of the city. Eira immediately acquires a quasi-mythic status, equal parts promised land and elysian fields, and their trip through the hostile, soulless city landscape is beset with hardships worthy to a trip filled with such religious allegories.

There's not much of a plot to speak of. The Franks make their way through the city and is every man out for himself. Once in a while they stop to comment on their surroundings, sleep in phone booths, trees and other strange places, offer nuggets of wisdom about vanity, inactivity, time and age, part scathing social critique and part insights into human nature; they also stop to hijack members of the parliament, a hearse, get free rides in a taxi or on top of a car, sleep in a beach or under a table and last but not least, die funny or just plain random deaths.

That is Calamari Union in a nutshell and there lie both its charms and failures. It has the improvised feeling of a freejazz piece - like them, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It can be inspired, infectiously cool and funny but it can also be meandering and aimless. You take the good with the bad I guess.


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