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 »
Koistinen is a sad sack, a man without affect or friends. He's a night-watchman in Helsinki with ideas of starting his own business, but nothing to go with those intentions. He sometimes talks a bit with a woman who runs a snack trailer near his work. Out of the blue, a young sophisticated blonde woman attaches herself to Koistinen. He thinks of her as his girlfriend, he takes her on her rounds. She's in league with a crook who's planning a jewel robbery, and Koistinen is their patsy. Will he ever wise up?Written by
Suomen Filmikamari, which selects the Finnish candidate for Academy Awards Best Foreign-Language Picture, had already chosen Laitakaupungin valot in September 2006, but in October 2006 Aki Kaurismäki informed them that he did not want his film considered for that competition. This also meant that there was no Finnish entry in the Academy Awards pre-selection. See more »
[Bank manager is reviewing Koistinen's application for a small-business loan]
Tell me, Koistinen... Are you some kind of comedian?
Did you come to cheer us up? What are these papers? A trade school diploma... Did you think it will give you a loan of two hundred thousand - without any security, any guarantors?
I'll guarantee it myself, until the company gets going and...
Guarantees from trash like you are worthless.
But I've got an account here.
I won't even take your ...
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When you find a formula that works, you often stick to it even to the point of spinning your wheels until you become something of either an establishment or a cliché. Director Aki Kaurismaki may do well to bare this in mind before embarking on his next languid look at sad-faced Finns moving in somnambulistic circles through the streets of Helsinki.
Perhaps considering JUHA and MAN WITHOUT A PAST too fast-paced, Kaurismaki slows down the action in LIGHTS IN THE DARK to a snail's pace.
Despite making me wonder if Kaurismaki is playing it safe by recycling the same ideas, his films are often like comfort food and it would take a lot to make me sick of macaroni and cheese. Rather than keeping on the safe ground, Kaurismaki could follow in the footsteps of his friend and fellow minimalist auteur Jim Jarmusch and make Finnish equivalents of GHOST DOG or DEAD MAN. On second thought, keep with what you're doing, Aki.
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