7.2/10
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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  »

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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

The Director is seen in reflection of Frank's (Sakke Järvenpää) sunglasses in "My friend got sick, can you help us" scene. 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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Soundtracks

Jälkeenpäin
Composed by Pekka Tegelman
Lyrics by Aila Meriluoto
Arranged by Sakari Kuosmanen
Performed by Sakari Kuosmanen
Vocals and guitar: Sakari Kuosmanen
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User Reviews

 
Weird and funny...
14 September 2006 | by See 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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