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The Match Factory Girl (1990)

Tulitikkutehtaan tyttö (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Comedy | 6 November 1992 (USA)
A woman's terribly dull life is upended by a one-night stand pregnancy, causing her to seek retribution.


Aki Kaurismäki


Aki Kaurismäki
6 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Kati Outinen ... Iris Rukka
Elina Salo ... Mother
Esko Nikkari Esko Nikkari ... Stepfather
Vesa Vierikko Vesa Vierikko ... Aarne
Reijo Taipale Reijo Taipale ... The singer
Silu Seppälä ... Iris Rukka's brother
Outi Mäenpää ... Iris Rukka's co-worker
Marja Packalén Marja Packalén ... The doctor
Richard Reitinger Richard Reitinger ... Man in the bar
Helka Viljanen Helka Viljanen ... Office employee (as Helga Viljanen)
Kurt Siilas Kurt Siilas ... Policeman
Ismo Keinänen Ismo Keinänen ... Policeman
Klaus Heydemann ... Worker
Erkki Friman Erkki Friman ... Member of dance band
Tapani Ikonen Tapani Ikonen ... Member of dance band


Iris has a dead-end job in a match-factory, lives with her dour and forbidding parents, and her social life is a disaster. But when she is made pregnant after a one-night stand by a man who thought she was a prostitute, she decides that enough is enough and plans her revenge... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Comedy


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Although being in nearly every scene, the protagonist does not speak until the 25-minute mark in the film. See more »


[first lines]
Iiris: Half pint, please!
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Features Room Service (1938) See more »


Kuinka saatoitkaan
Performed by Olavi Virta, with Eino Virtanen Orchestra
Arranged By Eino Virtanen
Finnish Lyrics By Sauvo Puhtila (as Saukki)
Original Lyrics Written By Fred Wise, Towney (aka Kay Twomey
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User Reviews

Life will never seem as bad again
22 September 2000 | by trilobeeSee all my reviews

Kaurismaki is nothing if not an efficient director. The stylistic elements of 'The Match Factory Girl' are distilled, like the vodka that is drunk throughout, to produce an intense and disturbing effect. Much of the action goes on outside the characteristically static camera frame, and Kati Outinen's deadpan face conveys a correspondingly broad range of expressions (she is excellent at signalling imminent vomiting without appearing to twitch a muscle). It's a film that moves on and out with the minimum of movement and dialogue, and its downwards pull is mesmerising. It's also bitterly funny. Late in the film the main character, Iris, approaches the shop counter and asks for a bottle of rat poison, to which the reply is: 'Small or large?'

I was fairly low when I saw this film. I came out feeling marvellous. Another triumph for the relief to be found in misery, a paradox which Kaurismaki cheerfully exploits in his dark, tragic & hilarious films.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Finland | Sweden



Release Date:

6 November 1992 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Match Factory Girl See more »

Filming Locations:

Vallila, Helsinki, Finland See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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