Tuesday, March 20, 2012


‘Life is short and miserable. Be merry while you can.’

What a sublime, warm and compassionate portrayal of love and perseverance against all odds! Time is taking the hard test of a working class married couple- a tram driver husband and a head waitress wife. Soon both of them lose their jobs and struggling days and nights to get survive and earn their bread and butter in unfavorable situations one after another. Not only they lost their jobs, but home, life insurance, all their savings of life one after another and still amid all rough times; finally the last gamble of their life starts working with a positive note. Kaurismaki kept the flame of hope burning with the positive end here. It’s ultimately film about triumph of human spirit against all odds of insurmountable time.

In the 1990s, Finland was passing through a severe economic crisis; recession hit hard and around million people lost their jobs. How could a sensitive filmmaker remain untouched! “If I didn’t make a film about unemployment now I wouldn’t have a nerve to look at my face in the mirror’, said Kaurismaki and thus born this first installment of his famous ‘Loser Trilogy’ or ‘Finland Trilogy’, which is regarded as significant cinema of his career. And so compared to many of his earlier part comic-drama, the tone here is more serious and the film lean more towards those Neo Realist melodramas. But Kaurismaki maintained it as unexploited and refined cinema as possible and the credit for it goes to one of his by default graceful actress of most of his cinema- Kati Outinen. Her decent, honest and genuine face reflects a ton even with her muted expressions in films after film. There’s two scenes which reflects her refined natural performance- the one where she shares her inner grief of working in some shitty restaurant joint to her husband on couch lying on his shoulder and another one where she stands next to her lost son’s photograph and lost in melancholy unspoken.


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