Set during the World War 2. In the summer of 1941 the Finnish army crosses the border of Russia. A platoon led by Lt. Eero Perkola goes through the wilderness around the Lieksa lake to ... See full summary »
The tough Detective Vares, get hired by a friend accused of murdering a girl. His job is to find the real killer, but people aren't talking. Before he can get traction another homicide takes place- and things move toward a dire conclusion.
Cibrâil, a young policeman, is living happily with his girlfriend in Berlin. He is well integrated in society despite his Turkish background. One day his girlfriend's cousin comes to stay and Cibrâil's life is turned upside down.
Jukka-Pekka Valkeapää's The Visitor (not to be confused with the Thomas McCarthy picture starring Richard Jenkins) carries on the vital lesson of Aki Kaurismäki, according to whom images speak more potently than words, especially in Finnish cinema. Valkeapää doesn't go as far as Kaurismäki did (he actually made a silent film, Juha, in 1999), but gets pretty close thanks to his bold narrative choice of having a mute protagonist.
The character concerned by that condition is a young boy who lives in the woods of Northern Finland with his mother, while the old man serves jail time. One day, a stranger shows up at their doorstep, demanding some hospitality. The mother accepts, whereas the father, who hears word of the recent turn of events, advises the boy to get rid of the man on the grounds that something terrible might happen.
The plot is as painstakingly simple as they come (even Kaurismäki tends to add a little something extra in his scripts), perhaps because Valkeapää isn't really interested in story development (as highlighted by the blatantly unrevealing conclusion), or character for that matter. The only person in the film who gets more than his due share of attention is the boy, whose eyes and face are the closest we, the audience, can hope to receive as an emotional bridge connecting us to the movie. He's on camera something like 95% of the running time, and the director uses his silence to pinpoint the real selling point of the film: the kid's relationship with nature, the only thing as quiet as he. Since the story takes place in winter, Valkeapää guides us, through the protagonist's eyes, into a landscape so beautiful it beats the living crap out of the best Christmas postcards (the only better option is to actually be there during the holiday season).
It's the uncanny combination of cinematography and central performance (the boy is staggering as the film reaches its climax) that elevates The Visitor just as much as is necessary to be above the standards of a conventional (read: dull) drama. If nothing else, it certainly will make people want to see Finland with their own eyes (even though the film was actually shot in Estonia).
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