Drifting Clouds

Drifting Clouds ★★★★★

The most profound film made about Finnish trauma of recession and the reality of the 1990s but also film about ghosts. It isn't only deeply baptized in Finnish cinema tradition in which clouds have always played important if somewhat humorous role but it is ode full of love to Matti Pellonpää (who passed away in 1995, the year of filming) whose image as a child we can see as Ilona first sends her husband to new job just to find out a moment later that he comes back having failed medical examination. It's full of Kaurismäki's favorite actors as well as cameos by such people as Love Record's (game changing record company) founding member Atte Blom or legendary Finnish cinephile and director Peter von Bagh whose passing away in 2014 still feels heavily in Finnish film world. Of course people will always pass away and become ghosts in films but somehow Drifting Clouds seems to acknowledge this dream world that cinema is. Because it is deeply humanistic film, it gives meaning to all the faces that we encounter and Kaurismäki makes the film feel like "home" (much like Jean Renoir could) or haven in to shelter when ignorant, inhuman forces are trying to rip us off our dignity.

It's a tale not about success but about human spirit that seems to fight with its whole being against the change in thinking from noble principles of welfare state to crude, calculated neoliberalist obsessions in which people become part of the machine. We might feel that it's all bad luck but capitalist machinery knows how to monopolize "luck" - just look at the boss in the beginning firing employees based on picking cards. Streets feel empty as if everyone have been buried deeply in their own problems, clerks everywhere pose to basically empty lines, TV is full of troubling news, autumn wind blows...

That is why the scenes which are crowded with people usually feel comfortable - those are the scenes in which human interaction is at its purest and people care about something deeper, about the things that truly make life. Old people dancing in the beginning as traditional restaurant Dubrovnik closes or new customers chatting happily at the opening day of new restaurant that cares about its customers. Instead of categorizing us to customers and patients, any social model worth retaining would be the one in which humans face humans as humans. It might be just a dream but at least cinema lets us dream it. It's one step closer to reality already; just like those who are gone are never really gone with cinema here.

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