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
Towards the end, there's a scene where Nikander's friend talks about a problematic fellow worker named Mikkonen. Matti Pellonpää, who plays Nikander here, would later play Mikkonen in Ariel (1988), the second part of the Proletariat trilogy directed by Aki Kaurismäki. 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 »
Various visuals in "Shadows in Paradise" manage to speak more than thousands of words. In the spirit of "L'Atalante" and "Marty", "Shadows in Paradise" is a poignant love story that chronicles two likable characters' miraculous, romantic, and conflict-infested relationship. It combines the hilarious with the melancholic in a way that director Aki Kaurismäki had proved to master time and time again. His juggling of emotions is bathed in stark realism that lies within the film's colorful visuals.
The lead characters are not played by glamorous Hollywood stars, these characters are not the stereotypical fools usually present in romantic comedies. They are real, but still quite interesting, human beings. In the spirit of writers like James Joyce and filmmakers such as Charles Burnett, Kaurismaki finds beauty in everyday moments and people. While there are moments of fierce conflict in this film that can, in no way, be called "mundane", a vast majority of what occurs in "Shadows in Paradise" is highly normal and borderline bland. However, through these slight details, Kaurismaki is able to explore the depths of the human experience, as well as the hidden beauty within the everyman. This sweet, gentle, and darkly comic love story will impress both romantics and film critics.
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