Saturday, March 01, 2008

Laitakaupungin Valot (Lights in The Dusk)

The concluding chapter by Aki Kaurismäki Finland/Loser trilogy (after Drifting Clouds and Man Without a Past) explores the theme of loneliness and what you can do when you become ostracized from others. The previous movies explored unemployment and homelessness and if you haven’t seen them I suggest you do before watching this one.

Kaurismäki is well known for his wry, deadpan humor, off-center characters and absurdist tone and with this cinema noir movie he wrote, produced, edited and directed he challenges himself and viewers anew. This dark comedy/drama is the closer I have seen to a contemporary silent movie with color and even if sounds contradictory: with sound.

I was very impressed with Man Without a Past directing style and actors performances, but this one is in my opinion is far superior as not only pokerfaced performances are outstanding (not even one smile here) but cinematography and framing are spectacular with scenes that look like lonely, icy and cold urban sharp-colorful paintings.

One of the most interesting things about this movie is the music, it opens with a very famous tango Volver performed by Carlos Gardel, another tango now sing in Finnish by Olavi Virta; has music by L’Ensemble Mastango and the rock group Melrose. So you can say that the music is quite eclectic which suits perfect to the cold- icy style of the story and narrative.

This is a complex movie due to the peculiar Kaurismaki style so I suggest reading about this movie and his trilogy before watching it. Here is one interesting article about this movie you may like to read and if you want to read more about him and his movies just google his name.

The movie has wins and nominations in European festivals and awards, and was premiered in competition at the 2006 Cannes. Also was Finland official submission for the 79th Academy Awards but the director declined for some interesting reasons, so that year there was no Finnish entry in the Academy Awards pre-selection.

This is a movie I strongly recommend only to those that are familiar with this outstanding director and to those that dare to get to know a very unusual movie style that is absolutely not for all audiences.


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