Aki Kaurismäki is the Finnish director who’s notable for being not merely one of many administrators who’s all the time welcome within the Cannes competitors, but additionally is among the rarer subset who truly makes humorous movies; that’s, actually-funny and never simply arthouse-funny. Fallen Leaves is one other of Kaurismäki’s beguiling and pleasant cinephile comedies, that includes foot-tapping rock’n’roll. It’s romantic and sweet-natured, in a deadpan fashion that on no account undermines or ironises the feelings concerned and with some sharp issues to say about modern politics.
I discovered myself rooting for the hero and heroine right here in an uncomplicated means that I hadn’t for some other movie at Cannes. It’s one thing which ought to be adored by Finnish movie fanciers – who will by the way savour the silent cameo from Finnish director and Cannes competitors veteran Juho Kuosmanen – but it surely’s actually for everybody and regardless of the title, it is a film with springtime in its coronary heart.
Ansa (Alma Pöysti) is a girl who works in a grocery store on an exploitative zero-hours contract, and resents that a part of her job is to throw away completely good meals on the finish of the day; a sullen safety guard clocks her giving stuff like this to determined hungry folks, and she or he is fired for attempting to take house an expired sandwich.
Later Ansa finds herself in a karaoke bar the place she meets a building employee known as Holappa (Jussi Vatanen), and there’s a heartmelting connection between these two lonely folks. They go on a really profitable date to the cinema, though a subsequent sequence of horrible mishaps implies that their relationship might be doomed – and right here Kaurismäki might intend us to understand a filmic echo with An Affair to Bear in mind with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. Furthermore, Holappa is a drinker, maybe an alcoholic, and the booze brings out a nasty facet. Idiotically, he doesn’t fairly respect that drink is imperilling his probability at happiness together with his soulmate.
There’s one thing else too: periodically the characters will activate the radio for the information (nobody seems to have something as fashionable as a smartphone or perhaps a TV – the motion might as properly be taking place within the early 60s); that is all concerning the Russian assault on Ukraine, which fills the listener with resentment, melancholy and defiance. And undoubtedly Kaurismäki intends us to grasp one thing very particular: Finland is on the border with Russia. Concern of Putinism just isn’t the distant matter it is perhaps within the UK, America and even Germany: for Finland, Putin’s troops are very shut by. The battle is clouding Finland’s sense of wellbeing, however Finns are nonetheless intent on carrying on.
Fallen Leaves is a movie with a giant coronary heart, and absurd and cartoony as it could be, it fills you with a feelgood glow.