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The Man Without a Past (2002)

Mies vailla menneisyyttä (original title)
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 »

Director:

Aki Kaurismäki

Writer:

Aki Kaurismäki

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 21 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Markku Peltola ... M
Kati Outinen ... Irma
Juhani Niemelä Juhani Niemelä ... Nieminen
Kaija Pakarinen Kaija Pakarinen ... Kaisa Nieminen
Sakari Kuosmanen ... Anttila
Annikki Tähti Annikki Tähti ... Manager of Flea Market
Anneli Sauli ... Bar Owner
Elina Salo ... Dock Clerk
Outi Mäenpää ... Bank Clerk
Esko Nikkari Esko Nikkari ... Bank Robber
Pertti Sveholm Pertti Sveholm ... Police Detective
Matti Wuori Matti Wuori ... Layer
Aino Seppo Aino Seppo ... Ex-wife
Janne Hyytiäinen ... Ovaskainen
Antti Reini Antti Reini ... Electrician
Edit

Storyline

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 anything from his past life, he cannot get a job or an apartment, so he starts living on the outskirts of the city and slowly starts putting his life back on track. Written by Jussi Tarvainen <jussi_tarvainen_84@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Finland | Germany | France

Language:

Finnish

Release Date:

1 March 2002 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

The Man Without a Past See more »

Filming Locations:

Verkkosaari, Helsinki, Finland See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

FIM 8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$22,392 (Finland), 8 November 2002

Opening Weekend USA:

$23,281, 6 April 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$921,547, 21 September 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The second part of Aki Kaurismäki's "Finland" trilogy, following Drifting Clouds (1996). See more »

Goofs

The Helsinki railway station's extension roof is clearly visible at the opening scene, but it hadn't been build yet in 1996 (the year can be read from the newspaper). See more »

Quotes

Anttila: Tickets.
M: What do you mean?
Anttila: You haven't paid.
M: But I organized this.
Anttila: That's what you think.
M: Is that so?
Anttila: Yes.
M: Fancy that.
Anttila: That's outrageous!
M: It is, isn't it?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Matka suomalaiseen elokuvaan: Naurua pimeässä (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Do The Shake
Performed by The Renegades
Music & Lyrics by Brown / Gibson / Johnson / Mallett
Published by Warner / Chappell Music Finland
(P) 1964 Scandia / Warner Music Finland
Licensed courtesy of Warner Music Finland
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Rhythm music
22 January 2007 | by Camera-ObscuraSee all my reviews

MAN WITHOUT A PAST, THE (Aki Kaurismäki - Finland/France/Germany 2002).

This second installment in Aki Kaurismaki's projected "Finland Trilogy" is a heart-warming fable about a man (Markku Peltola) who loses everything, including his identity. After M, as he is referred to for the rest of the film, dozes off on a park bench, he is awoken by a trio of thugs who brutally beat him up, steal his money and toss his wallet and identity papers into the trash bin. In the hospital, he is pronounced dead by the doctors, but by some miracle he springs back to life but with no memory whatsoever of his past or his identity. Now a penniless amnesiac, he has to build his life from scratch. Without knowing a single person (and without a single person knowing him), he must try to survive, but he soon acquires a melancholy dog named Hannibal and falls in love with Irma, a lonely salvation army soup kitchen volunteer. Of course, his past does catch up with him, but it only works to point out what's really important in his future life.

Kaurismäki usually champions the outcasts of society and here it's no different. He once said: "I make films for the unemployed, but since they don't have money to buy cinema tickets I generally have no audience." Of course, Kaurismäki has a huge audience by now, but no matter how simple and accessible the story in the film might look, he still manages to blend romance, quirky comedy and social commentary, seemingly effortless into the film's narrative.

Most of the humor doesn't come from any written gags or jokes but springs from the absurdity of the situations, all in Kaurismäki's typical deadpan-comedy style, complete with nods top '50s B-movies, rock'n'roll ("rhytm music", as it's called by M), fairytale romance and an incomparable soundtrack, featuring British beat combo, The Renegades. I just love the music in this film! Time and place hover between Helsinki in the '30s and the present. Despite the idiosyncratic set-up and the strange unreal dialog, it's incredible how very real all these characters feel. Deep sentiment but every inch of it sincere. I can't get enough of this film, no matter how often I've seen it.

Camera Obscura --- 9/10


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