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 »
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 »
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 »
Tram driver Lauri loses his job. Shortly later, the restaurant where his wife Ilona works as a head waitress is closed. Too proud to receive money from the social welfare system, they strive to find new jobs. But they are completely unlucky and clumsy, one disaster is followed by the next.Written by
Frank Wallner <email@example.com>
I never used to like Kaurismäki films, mainly because I didn't understand them and thought they were boring. I have since then changed my mind. The thing with Kaurismäki films is that you can watch them without understanding them and still like them or you can understand them and not like them etc. each in their own way. However, they are not these artsy-films that only critics love and everyone else hates. Drifting Clouds is Finnish life that has been made a parody but it's not mocking Finnish life. There are people like Lauri and Ilona. Lauri as played by Kari Väänänen is a very typical Finnish male in a way he behaves. He may not say much, but you just know that he really loves Ilona. And no matter how Lauri behaves, Ilona loves Lauri as well. You don't need a million 'I love You's to get the message through, just take a look at his body-language.
In the beginning of the film, Lauri has just bought a new TV (with colours) on part payment. They have a similar plan for the sofa and the bookshelf - as Lauri optimistically puts it: In four years time they can afford to buy books as well. Then they both lose their jobs because of recession. Getting job is difficult, Ilona is being told that she starts to be a bit too old being a waiter,she's 38 (wonderful scene with Esko Nikkari) and Lauri has medical problems. Too proud to go and get unemployment benefit, Lauri says something like I don't beg, I am me... which reminds me of another Kaurismäki film, Calamari Union where one of the characters called Frank as played by Kari Väänänen says something like I don't drive buses, I am me.. Well anyway, back to Drifting clouds.. so yes, they continue their quest for employment. The characters in the film don't talk very much, and at first it really bothered me that they didn't sound natural at all, but I actually know people who speak less than that and it's completely natural! I loved the scene in the breakfast table when Lauri is preparing to take the dog out - he finishes his coffee, says that he's going now, Ilona replies simply 'Good' then Lauri asks whether he should take the rubbish out as well and once again Ilona gives a very minimalistic reply saying 'Take'. It works beautifully and though it might seem funny to foreign ears, it's normal to have such conversations in Finland. The ending gives hope and is very optimistic but not in the Hollywood sense of the word! Great songs throughout the film which really echo the feelings of the characters (too bad the songs have not been subtitled - they could have since in some scenes the characters speaks so little!)
I think this is a fantastic film. Both Kari Väänänen and Kati Outinen are great. The film is dedicated to Matti Pellonpää (little boy in one photo) who was supposed to have starred in the film, but sadly he died before they started to film this...well, he wasn't the first Finnish person to drink himself to death..
watch it on DVD!
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