Monday, March 19, 2012


‘I have two methods. If I have a screenplay, I follow it. If I don’t, I improvise. Nobody else improvises- not the cameraman or the actors. Just me.’     - Aki Kaurismaki

On surface level there’s not much of plot or screenplay in this Kaurismaki’s Road and Rock & Roll odyssey about two social misfit middle age Finns who while making their escape attempt from routine fix in Cadillac aided with adjustable electric coffee maker and stereo player with lot of vinyl records encounter two hitchhiker Russian ladies. What we follow throughout the film is unlikely odd couples sharing the journey in car, restaurants, hotel rooms and still none of the male respond to women. It seems that they are in some sort of limbo! Valto drinks coffee like water and Reno compulsive vodka guzzler. Though ladies attempted to break the ice, they remain indifferent in their approach. Near to end of the journey surprisingly Reno decides to stay with one of the Russian lady in foreign land and the other surprisingly gets back to scratch zero from where the film begin.

What makes it irritating to watch is the height of both males’ irresponsive approach towards ladies. Is it possible for human to remain so much indifferent while sharing so much proximity? But at the same time it also points out that does the difficulty with expressing feelings indicate their absence? Though they seem so unromantic, non emotional and taciturn, desire is something as evasive and as omnipresent! One has to watch this film very closely especially towards its last fifteen minutes where it forms one couple and other towards unspoken melodrama. Perhaps symbolically it represents two birds; one get its partner and fly away towards the land beyond vast sea, the other prisoner of it’s nest returns home as he’s helpless of his own cocooned cluster.

After exploring Kaurismaki’s cinema from almost a week, I must say 'Akiland' is something so un-Hollywood. There are a few directors who successfully achieve the objective of cinema while following experimental and playing with medium by Jean Luc Godard and refined minimalist approach of Bresson. Kaurismaki’s minimalist approach not only remains limited to direction, acting, visuals or production but also in term of film duration. For example this film which is less than one hour long. Till day I’ve seen eight of Kaurismaki films and so far none of them extends the running time of one hour thirty minutes.

This is kind of film, which starts growing after one more viewing.


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