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 ... See full summary »
The married Bongwan leaves home in the dark morning and sets off to work. The memories of the woman who left weigh down on him. That day Bongwan's wife finds a love note, bursts into the office, and mistakes Areum for the woman who left.
Janina Duszejko, an elderly woman, lives alone in the Klodzko Valley where a series of mysterious crimes are committed. Duszejko is convinced that she knows who or what is the murderer, but nobody believes her.
Khaled, syrian refugee stows away on a freighter to Helsinki. Meanwhile, Wikström is a traveling salesman who wins big at a poker table and buys himself a restaurant with the proceeds. When the authorities turn down his application for asylum, Khaled is forced underground and Wikström finds him sleeping in the yard behind his restaurant. He offers him a job and a roof over his head and, for a while, they form a Utopian union with the restaurant's waitress, the chef and his dog. Written by
Prior the film's release director-producer Aki Kaurismäki and his long-time set decorator Markku Pätilä got into dispute on how the credits are listed in the Finnish titled version as all set related credits (set decorator, property master and set builder) are listed under single title "Lavastus". Kaurismäki's response for that this wording would downgrade Pätilä's role and artistic rights in the set design, Kaurismäki rejected these claims and also said Kaurismäki himself designed the detailed visual look of the film and even provided large part of the props. The response also promised that in the international version with English titles Pätilä would be the only person listed under title "set decorator". On February 1st 2017 Pätilä and his lawyers filed a case to The Market Court in Helsinki to seek injunction on film's release in Finland in its current form and the next day the court ruled that there is no need to ban the film and the issues regarding the rights on the film's set design will be determined later - assuming the parties cannot reach a settlement outside the court prior that. See more »
Having read several positive reviews and being aware that the film won important prizes in festivals like the Berlinale I was expecting this film to be shown in my local art-house movie theater. It certainly lived up the hype. The film follows two characters that later on cross paths: a Finnish salesman who divorces his wife, sells everything and opens up a restaurant and a Syrian refugee (Khaled) who ends up in Finland by accident and seeks for asylum.
I will not expand anymore in plot details. Kaurismaki mixes in humour in its right measure (some people might find it ridiculous but being the Finnish such an unknown and different culture for me I found it really interesting) with the difficult realistic events that unfold. Moreover we are shown a perfect radiography of a society that is not of the ones that is more "affected" -due to its geographical location- with war and refugee issues in the present and how people react differently and of course the everywhere present neo Nazis.
It's a very realistic film so I'd advice potential viewers who read IMDb reviews not to expect extraordinary events neither sophisticated acting. The acting is monotone in purpose and it suits the mood of the movie perfectly. Music is very important in the film and it helps one to immerse even more in its mood. It's a pity that -at least in my country and I guess pretty much everywhere- it's shown in only a few movie theaters. It would raise awareness and demonstrate people that there is great cinema all over the world.
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