The Essential Aki Kaurismäki
EYE screens more than ten classic titles by Aki Kaurismäki, the chronicler of Finnish melancholy with an absurdist twist. The majority of the films featured in the programme are from EYE’s own collection and will be screened on 35mm. Film distributor Cinemien presents digitally restored versions of The Match Factory Girl and The Man Without a Past. The restorations were carried out under the aegis of the filmmaker himself. Calamari Union will be screened with English subtitles, I Hired a Contract Killer is English spoken.
Aki Kaurismäki received a Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin International Film Festival for his latest film The Other Side of Hope (2017). The award confirmed the Finnish director’s status as one of the leading figures of European author cinema.
Virtually all of Kaurismäki’s films are present in EYE’s collection, making the film museum the guardian of Kaurismäki’s oeuvre in the Netherlands. The films from EYE’s collection form the backbone of the programme, which includes twelve of Kaurismäki’s long feature films, ranging from the cult films Ariel (1988) and Leningrad Cowboys Go America (1989) to the absurdist melodrama Juha (1999) and The Other Side of Hope (2017). His short films Leningrad Cowboys: Those Were the Days (1992), Leningrad Cowboys: These Boots (1993) and Valimo (2007) are screened alternately prior to each feature.
Kaurismäki’s films have often earned praise for their sympathetic portrayal of life’s unfortunates. Whether it’s Shadows in Paradise (1986), The Match Factory Girl (1990), Juha (1999) or Lights in the Dusk (2006), Kaurismäki has a keen eye for loneliness, failed loyalties and troubled relationships, filmed in his characteristically deadpan, humorous and nostalgic style. In between the vodka-marinated melancholy and accordion tunes, Kaurismäki’s characters aren’t simply losers; his hapless and endearing heroes suffer from life, but each time life still turns out to be worth living.
Born in 1957, the films of Kaurismäki have often been compared to those of Jim Jarmusch: both filmmakers have a penchant for deadpan humour and employ a minimalist film style, with a strong preference for soundtracks featuring vintage pop and rock ‘n’ roll. Jarmusch likes to place his characters in slightly surrealist settings, while Kaurismäki’s tragicomic stories – often pastiches of film noir, road movies and melodrama – are rooted in the mundane. The Finnish director is also noted for his attention to the emotional effect of colour.