Aki Kaurismäki wowed Cannes with this lyrical tale of a down-and-out amnesiac who builds a home for himself in the slums of Helsinki. M (Markku Peltola) is left for dead by a group of thugs who steal his money and radio, waking up inside a hospital with a broken nose and no recollection of his name or his past. With the help of his needy neighbors, M begins a new life and falls for a Salvation Army soldier (Cannes Best Actress winner Kati Outinen) who feeds and dresses him. Given the film’s minimalist framing and Felliniesque expressiveness, Kaurismäki would have made an excellent silent filmmaker. Though his engagement of silent idiom recalls Chaplin, his leisurely pacing brings to mind Jarmusch, who appeared in Aki’s popular Leningrad Cowboys Go America and his brother Mika’s Helsinki-Naples All Night Long and Tigrero: A Film That Was Never Made. This deadpan romantic comedy grows progressively more appealing as it moves along, and though any number of scenes from the film could count as some of the wittiest of the year, the overall patchwork lacks emotional resonance.
- Sony Pictures Classics
- 97 min
- Aki Kaurismäki
- Aki Kaurismäki
- Markku Peltola, Kati Outinen, Annikki Tähti, Juhani Niemelä, Kaija Pakarinen, Sakari Kuosmanen, Aino Seppo
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: