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 »
The second part of Aki Kaurismäki's "Finland" trilogy, the film follows a man who arrives in Helsinki and gets beaten up so severely he develops amnesia. Unable to remember his name or ... See full summary »
Only connect. In gray, class-conscious Helsinki, Nikander is a stoic, solitary garbage man. Cigarettes, coffee, bingo games, and English lessons border his circumscribed life. There are few words, no smiles, and no laughter. Violence and the threat of violence seem close at hand. Ilona, a supermarket clerk who frequently loses her job, bandages Nikander's hand one evening; later he gets her out of a jam, and they begin an on-again off-again relationship. "Why do I keep losing?," Nikander asks his co-worker, Melartin, a man Nikander met in jail and helped get a job. Can he break his losing streak?Written by
The garbage truck in final scenes in harbor is branded "Bedford". "Bedford" was a British truck manufacturer. It became obsolete some years after filming. See more »
When Nikander and Ilona leave the gas station and ride down the road, they pass a white car. The white car is standing still in the middle of the road. Presumably they drove so fast that they passed the white car, but it stands still. See more »
[co-worker is offering Nikander a drink]
Listen, Nikander. We've been a team quite a while. But I've been doing this for 25 years. I'm getting tired and so is my heart.
What's the matter with it?
I've got an idea - my own company. Five trucks to start with...
What does it end?
The sky is the limit. The state and the banks will back us. I know everything about this game, but I'm not going to die behind the wheel.
[...] See more »
Early Kaurismäki and one of the most idiosyncratic romantic comedies of all time
Released in 1986, Aki Kaurismaki's VARJOJA PARATIISISSA (Shadows in Paradise) is one of the Finnish filmmaker's earliest efforts, and it stands as one of the most idiosyncratic romantic comedies of all time. The painfully shy Nikander (Matti Pellonpää), a garbage man, means the moody Ilona, a supermarket checkout girl. The film tracks their bumbling attempt to establish a lasting relationship: dates that end as soon as they've begun, a romantic getaway where they each retreat to separate hotel rooms, and rare conversations which employ the absolute bare minimum of words. Nikander's best and only friend Melartin (Sakari Kuosmanen), whom the garbage man only recently met through a spell in jail, gives some needed encouragement.
The film's soundtrack is rooted in early rock-and-roll, though unlike later Kaurismaki films where the characters seem to be living in a 1950s bubble, all the action takes place in contemporary Helsinki. I've criticized Kaurismaki's vision of Finland in other films, but VARJOJA PARATIISISSA does, in my opinion, accurately depict the collection of gloomy, taciturn binge drinkers that are the Finns.
VARJOJA PARATIISISSA is an early work and doesn't show the confidence of later efforts, but it's still quite entertaining, its leads and their struggles extremely charming, and I would recommend the film. Certainly the performances of Pellonpää (in a typical Pellonpää role) and Outinen (who seemingly reinvents herself in every film) will prove quite memorable.
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