Aki Kaurismäki in my eyes is maybe the best (loaded word, but I would like to avoid using more pompous ones – like relevant etc.) film director working today. This page is not just dedicated to more obscure artists – because this Finnish director certainly no longer is.
So why the best? His films have incredible cinematography – just watch films such as Drifting clouds, The man without a past, and Le Harve – each scene is immaculately set up, in term of composition and color.
His style is completely unique – it’s like watching a play on the screen: it is cinema, but with all of the subtleties and dramatic expression of theatre.
His soundtracks are super cool collections in their own right – often featuring bands that you will not hear anywhere else.
But what makes his films so amazing are the stories: they are human, real, and as of late very relevant to present day. His latest film The other side of hope is about refugees of Syrian war – and yet the story is told in a hopeful dramatic voice of Kaurismäki. How many directors working today can do this as eloquently?
This is not the first time Kaurismäki is addressing migration crisis – his film Le Harve equally approached the subject and again, with the same hopeful voice and dramatic artistry of his other films.
His films mix languages and countries: Finnish, English, French, Arabic etc, they reflect what is happening today in Europe and across the world.
I fell in love with Aki Kaurismäki’s films when I saw The man without a past – a film for which he received Grand Prix at the Cannes festival. It’s a story of redemption, of starting over, and of kindness having the upper hand over cruelty. It’s a heart-breaking story, but it’s a completely optimistic story at the same time – in other words a perfect Kaurismäki story.
As a complete film nerd, I purchased the entire of collection of his films (this was before streaming was available) and watched them all.
Drifting Clouds is a slow simple story, but somehow at the end it sails out and transforms itself into an elegant commentary on life and hope.
If you watch Kaurismäki’s films be prepared for the following: drunken chefs who hold knives while drinking vodka from a bottle, general drunkenness, restaurants and bars, repeat appearances by Kati Outinen, Marko Haavisto & Poutahaukat, thugs and their victims, victims getting the better of thugs, immigrants, and above all presence of hope.