Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
The Man Without a Past
The second part of Aki Kaurismäki's "Finland" trilogy, the film follows a man who arrives in Helsinki and gets beaten up so severely he develops amnesia. Unable to remember his name or anything from his past life, he cannot get a job or an apartment, so he starts living on the outskirts of the city and slowly starts putting his life back on track.
After last night’s viewing of Calamari Union, which I had high hopes for but ultimately left me disappointed, I really needed a sure fire Aki to put my mood right. Tonight was Thursday, which is the night that we have our neighbours over for a movie. Now, Aki is often an iffy sell, but I really wanted to rewatch one of his cannon that I loved, and also wanted to see what a completely fresh set of eyes would see.
Compared to Calamari, which didn’t win my heart, and the not too far removed temporally Take Care of Your Scarf, Tatiana, which I adored, Man Without a Past is a much more mature, refined Kaurismaki. Gone is overt absurdist and…
Movie #3 in the 30 Countries Challenge: Finland
Aki Kaurismaki is the Finnish film industry, and his films are so unlike anything else being produced. He is definitely one of my favourite contemporary film makers, and The Man Without a Past ranks as one of the best films I have seen from him.
The film explores a proletariat identity crisis in Helsinki, where the titular memory-less main character is thrown into poverty at the very bottom of the social ladder. He struggles with corrupt landowners, violent gangs, and a social and financial system that is set against him. The film's location in the slums of Helsinki is filled with incredibly filthy and rough terrain, yet the main character makes the…
As a fan of the deliciously deadpan, humanist and air-tight Proletariat trilogy, I was happy to see that Kaurismaki's most acclaimed film was of a similar vein. I didn't particularly like the recent Le Havre, The Man Without a Past is more to my liking. As usual, Kaurismaki's stylistic trinity of muses (Cigarettes, Rock and Outinen) rule the day.
The Man Without a Past is a good encapsulation of Kaurismaki's career. The film says something important about the always-at-hand possibility of a new day, starting anew and living unburdened by the past. Being without a past is not easy mind you, as the film echoes a Christ like story. It reminds of the realist difficulty an angel or alien being…
I probably had seen this once before, but had forgotten most of it...
The Kaurismäki Stock Company are gathered once again. It's understandable that this is generally considered to be the director's best. It wouldn't be a true Kaurismäki if there wasn't personal tragedy below, here there are in fact several, but the black humor and general mood of it all lifts it up to become maybe his warmest story to date.
Markku Peltola is the man without a past. This happens when he is exposed to blind violence in a park and loses his memory. From there he ends up living in a container down by the harbor. The people down there are colorful and with warm hearts, that…
Four films in to the filmography of Aki Kaurismaki and wilful absurdity aside the one thing that strikes me the most is that his films all look the same and have a wonderful timeless quality to them; that is to say that they all seem to exist out of time with the feel of existing within the paintings of Edward Hopper. It's not just the rock n roll soundtracks, the leather jackets or the smoking, there's also the shadow of faded glamour that cloaks every frame and its washed out palette. I'm assured that this is the product of decades of working with the same cinematographer, Timo Salminen, so do I appreciate Kaurismaki as the leader of these projects or…
Around the World in May-ty Days Challenge
Movie #3 - The Man Without a Past (Finland)
Having seen his latest movie "Le Havre", i perfectly understand the Finnish director, Aki Kaurismaki's style. I was eager to watch The Man Without a Past because it is widely regarded as his best, plus it was nominated for an Oscar and it won a bunch of awards at Cannes. I was quite surprised to see how much similar in tone and subject i found it to be with Le Havre, yet it stood out thanks to the conviction and compassion that Kaurismaki usually finds in human beings, something that i rarely see these days. His style is dead pan but his stories are…
"I've got eight potatoes. I must save three for winter and at least two as seed potatoes. We farmers must think of the coming years, too. We only eat what is left over. There is not enough for three. I want to invite Irma to dinner."
"So none for me?"
"I am a realist. You city people are children of the moment."
Before reading Thomas Elaesser's article on Aki Kaurismäki ("Hitting Bottom: Aki Kaurismäki and the Abject Subject"), I would not have considered The Man without a Past a transnational film since it never deals with themes of nationality, border, or globalization in ways that I would imagine a so-called traditional transnational film would. Usually a transnational…
In frames awash in brown, green, blue and red, Aki Kaurismaki presents an odd world brim full with incredibly deadpan characters. This film is a true oddity - a truly unpredictable series of events, drenched in awkward silences and mundane conversations. The laughs that came from me while watching largely originated from the disarming absurdity of the entire situation, and anyone who loves strangeness as much as me would love this film!
Technically, the film is carefully curated and assembled - clean and pleasingly straight and symmetrical compositions dominate most frames. The use of rock n' roll music throughout is slightly jarring, but comedically enjoyable. Kaurismaki creates a fascinatingly off-kilter world, which proves to be a delectable treat in following the exploits of M, as he passively exists in the world, trying to rediscover who he is while going along for the ride; which is exactly what this film's audience is compelled to do. Strangely and satisfyingly hilarious.
First published by Daily Info
A man comes by nighttrain to Helsinki. As he sleeps on a park bench, three hoodlums beat him repeatedly about the head with a baseball bat and steal his suitcase. After being pronounced dead at the hospital, the man recovers, but has completely lost all memory of who he was.
In The Man Without A Past, Aki Kaurismäki takes this opening premise, familiar from countless amnesiac thrillers (except perhaps the bit about Helsinki), and weaves from it a black comedy of social exclusion and personal redemption. For M (played by Harry Dean Stanton lookalike Markku Peltola) is quickly confronted with a bureaucratic edifice designed to marginalise those who have neither finances nor official identity. Yet…
Imagine you're thirsty and you drink a glass of water and suddenly you're even thirstier. That's how dry this comedy is. The deadpan pacing certainly isn't for everyone, and this isn't as funny as the two other Aki Kaurismaki films I've seen, but it might be the best romantic comedy you'll ever find coming out of oppressive Finland, if that means anything.
For all my rewatches so far, if my initial rating changed, it was because I noticed something new that either pleased or displeased me. But The Man Without a Past is exactly the film that I remember...gorgeous, leisurely, and somehow both bitterly depressing and engagingly hopeful at the same time. So why the lowered rating?
I don't think I've stopped liking films of this type, so my best guess is that I don't think Kaurismaki's films have much rewatch value. Which might be why every time I watch more of hid films I'm a little less thrilled with them. I hope not. The first time I saw this film I was hit by how strange and different it was from anything else I was watching it the time. But perhaps being strange and different was all this film had to offer me, and now that it's not that, it's just pleasant and nothing more.
Pretty marvelous. I save it for infrequent viewings, being a foreign film it's easier to keep fresh in that sense. About a man with amnesia who is inspired to start a good and fresh life amongst the homeless. Their community consists of homes made from shipping containers. I can't help but wonder if the theme is about breaking from tradition. Watch it.
People in the cinematographic world of Aki Kaurismäki exist in a strange and yet common place. They belong to the working class, are often unemployed, drive oldimer cars, live in shabby apartments or worse, listen to finnish tango in dubious bars and to blues or rock and roll on museum piece radios or juke boxes, get beaten up frequently, drink heavily, eat cheap frying pan meals, act stoically even in most desperate situations, generally don't have luck on their side but never give up and find fortune or at least something worthwhile in the end. Neither only realistic, absurdist nor fabulous, the narrative alway goes somewhere in between and develops a strange, consistent, calm quality not unlikely to Ozu and…
Kaurismaki is certainly a director who doesn’t like to leave his comfort zone. It’s a good thing he’s so in tune with what makes his movies work. Like the rest of his films, he focuses on themes such as working class life in the city, and awkward, introverted romances. But instead of feeling tired and overdone, Kaurismaki seems to learn from each movie he makes, like each movie he makes is just practice for his next one. The film maintains a consistent tone of melancholy humor, with every scene managing to evoke a chuckle and a moment of sympathy from me. As always, his movies never feel bloated due to their shot runtime. It’s an exceptional skill for a filmmaker not to overindulge when they have such a singular vision. Overall, a very enjoyable, though familiar film.
Originally a list made prior to Cannes 2014, now updated every mid-April.
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