‘Maybe my films are not masterpieces, but they are the documents of their time. That’s enough for me. Masterpieces I can’t do- even though I try.’
Kaurismaki’s second film of his ‘Loser or Helsinki Trilogy’ is not only the best of the trilogy but also one of career best. It has almost everything that you expect from Kaurismaki film- taciturn characters, working class milieu, dry humor and than it has something extra- a sincere unadorned art of moving story telling like those adorable minimalist humanitarian documents of two great Masters- Ozu and Bresson. Amid all grim and unfavorable circumstance, it conveys the hope as some sort of inner strength to survive against all odds. The film is touching love story between two equally good at heart, noble lonely souls who are perhaps made for each other to survive in otherwise grim backdrop of crime and poverty.
A man arrives in a city by train and within hours severely beaten by street hooligans. He gained consciousness but lost his memory. Helped by a working class couple, he started surviving his new life in a dingy container. He encounters a lonely, reticent social worker helping the poor working class people and soon formed a close bonding of love and affection with her. But his accidental involvement with crime and finally his past confronts with his struggling but content life.
Though it doesn’t have glamorous
Hollywood stars, eye candy locales and hackneyed
melodrama that audience love to see time and again; it has something so natural
and effortlessly human in portrayal of two protagonists. The film focuses on
basic goodness of human beings in larger scale. There’s not a single character
which is absolutely dark here. For example even that bank robber old man later
proved to be a helpless gentleman of his words; except those three street
hooligans who get their due finally towards the climax.
Somewhere I read that greatness of the film lies in its scenes which stay with you for long even after the film is over. There are many such scenes in the film- some so sublime and controlled one like one when the man walks the lady her home for the first time and steals her kiss, some so ironical and funny at the same time like that babbling legal arguments between the lawyer and the cop in police station. The one surprisingly refined and memorable one was his encounter with his wife and a stranger. The film so movingly captures the human essence with the theme and plot of struggling identity and existence in pendulum as the film begins and once again when it comes near to its end.
Highly recommended one.