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Finland, 1988 (MIFF 1990, Spotlight Kaurismäki )

Director: Aki Kaurismäki

Ariel is the second film in a trilogy of films depicting Finland 1986-1989 that began with Shadows in Paradise (1986), and was completed with The Match Factory Girl (1989). It is the story of a young man, Kasurinen, who arrives in an inhospitable southern town after the Lappland mine, where he and his father work, shuts down. Left with the car his father left him - a snow white Cadillac convertible - and a radio, he drifts into a job at the docks and a relationship with Irmeli and her son.

But, as in many Kaurismäki films, fate intervenes when Kasurinen becomes a hapless pawn in the judicial system. Although the journey has stopped, Kaurismäki maintains the stripped-down road movie conventions, punctuating the gloomy mood with music, Finnish pop and even a tango.

Shot in black and white (Kaurismäki's films alternate between what he terms "serious realistic colour films" and black and white movies in an underground style), the film is infected with a dark, satiric yet beguiling tone, offering a warm insight into the predicament of people living at the margins of society. At the film's premiere, Kaurismäki said he was dedicating the film to "the memory of Finnish reality".
- (PKa)

See also...


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Another screen version of Dostocvsky's novel, and one of the best Finnish films of recent years. Raskolnikov here is Rahikainen, a former law student, who now works in a slaughterhouse in Helsinki ... More »

Rocky VI

Rocky VI is a serious-minded declaration on cultural policy, a collision of Finnish patriotism, multinational mass entertainment and apolitical straightforwardness respectful to Eastern neighbours ... More »


A "black and white underground, B-movie classical drama" born out of serious drinking with a friend, Hamlet Goes Business is the only one of Kaurismäki's films winch the director professes to like ... More »

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