Archiv der Kategorie: Aki Kaurismäki

Berlinale 2017: Day 6

By Sascha Krieger

Toivon tuolla puolen (Competition / Finland, Germany / Director: Aki Kaurismäki)

A man leaves his wife and opens a restaurant. A Syrian refugee arrives on a coal ship. Two stories Aki Kaurismäki lets run parallel for the first half of this film. Which is a problem. The first of those stories is pure Kaurismäki: Stony, stoic faces, lightly darkish drab interiors, images as rigid and dry as his characters. The least spectacular leaving scene in film history starts a melancholy and drily funny story about people who don’t dare give up and who have hearts of gold beneath those faces of stone. Among Kaurismäki’s stories about the (sometimes not so) little man plodding on stoically to find a tiny little bit of happiness, this is an exemplary one. But there is a second one, that of Khaled from Aleppo. His narrative strand feels generic like an essay slash pamphlet about refugees caught in the mills of bureaucracy, more of a newspaper article than a film. When both strands are combined as the two men meet in a memorable scene, the film picks up speed. The driest of humour accompanies what is melancholic existential comedy meets adventure tale. it would have done the film much good to focus on these strangely easily meeting world s and leave out the bland social drama complete with a murderous Nazi gang. As it is, the film is a solid addition to Kaurismäki’s oeuvre but not more than that.

 (Image: Malla Hukkanen © Sputnik Oy)

Toivon tuolla puolen (Image: Malla Hukkanen © Sputnik Oy)

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Film review: Le Havre (Director: Aki Kaurismäki)

It’s all so familiar: The shabby, old worn interiors, the far from picturesque scenery, those slightly patina-covers images with their dirty soft colors, the slowness, those long shots which are hardly more than stills, even the hairdos. Not only do Aki Kaurismäki’s films have a very distinctive look and feel, they all have this quality of watching something that is not quite there. Nostalgia is the wrong word, but his films and more so his characters have fallen out of time. They are creatures of the past, but the present they end up in is not quite the present we know either. There is a timeless quality or rather a different sense of time in the slow movements, the museum-like atmosphere, the silence. More often than not Kaurismäki’s characters are not exactly talkers. So it is no surprise that Le Havre looks a lot like Helsinki but there sure is a lot more talking going on.

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Aki Kaurismäki: Der Mann ohne Vergangenheit, Deutsches Theater, Berlin (Regie: Dimiter Gotscheff)

Es wird ja oft genug darüber geschrieben und nicht selten auch lamentiert: Immer häufiger finden Stoffe ihren Weg auf die Bühne, die aus anderen Kunsgattungen als dem Drama stammen. Romanadaptionen finden sich heute an praktisch jeder deutschen Bühne und auch Film erfreuen sich zunehmender Beliebtheit bei Regisseuren. Dimiter Gotscheff ist dabei so etwas wie ein Vorreiter: Nach seinem godard-Abend Die Chinesin an der Volksbühne stellt er nun schon sein zweite Filmbearbeitung dieser Spielzeit vor: Der Mann ohne Vergangenheit des großen finnischen Melancholikers Aki Kaurismäki.

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