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ARIEL

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...

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 »

TOTAL BALALAIKA SHOW

It's inspired. It's crazed. It's beyond imagining. It's a rock'n roll detente. A pop perestroika. It's the Total Balalaika Show! ... In the beginning there was an idea - a joke - an incredible one ... More »

SHADOWS IN PARADISE

Shadows in Paradise borrows its title from an Erich Maria Remarque novel about wartime refugees. It is an attempt by director Aki Kaurismaki at a realistic love story with scenes taking place in the ... More »

LENINGRAD COWBOYS GO AMERICA

The Leningrad Cowboys do not enjoy a great deal of success or talent. The boys are used to playing Russian songs written for an all-male choir. What they lack in talent or marketability, is ... More »

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

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 »

THE MATCH FACTORY GIRL

Humiliation and torment constitute the basic conditions of Iris's life. She is exploited at the factory, where she endures the drudgery of the production line, at home, where her parents hog her ... More »

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