Robert (readwrite) wrote,
Robert
readwrite

Lights in the Dusk

This afternoon I saw the Finnish writer/director Aki Kaurismäki's latest film, Lights in the Dusk, at the IFC Center. I have only seen a few other films by Kaurismäki, but I've really enjoyed them all. The Match Factory Girl is a real masterpiece, I think. The American filmmaker with whom he has obvious affinities is Jim Jarmusch. I don't want to go into the plot too much, but it is a sort of deadpan version of a classic noir plot (Criss Cross, say). The power of this film lies in the way the star is a complete loser, rejected both by the other common folk and by the swells, and yet has both hope and a stoic strength.

While I think Kaurismäki is really one of the great filmmakers of our time, I've been amazed at others' total lack of comprehension. When I saw The Match Factory Girl with a friend, I was blown away, finding it both hilarious and moving in a serious dramatic way--but she was in a kind of shock and couldn't understand how I could like it at all. At the end of today's film, I heard a woman's voice in the back: "Can you tell me what that film was about?" Maybe if it had Burt Lancaster in it, and lots of crescendos at the dramatic parts.

A very slight spoiler: There are some scenes in prison, and there are also a bunch of scenes of the more industrial parts of Helsinki. They don't seem too far apart. I don't think this resemblance is unintentional on Kaurismäki's part.
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