Aki Kaurismaki sees people as equals: 'Fallen Leaves' star Alma Poysti on Finnish helmer's new movie | Bollywood - Hindustan Times

Aki Kaurismaki sees people as equals: 'Fallen Leaves' star Alma Poysti on Finnish helmer's new movie

Feb 12, 2024 02:31 PM IST

Aki Kaurismaki sees people as equals: 'Fallen Leaves' star Alma Poysti on Finnish helmer's new movie

The film, currently streaming on MUBI India, won the Jury Prize at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival and has earned universal acclaim for its gentle take on love between two lonely souls in Helsinki, Finland.

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HT Image

Alma plays Ansa, a supermarket clerk, whose chance meeting and connection with construction worker Holappa, played by Jussi Vatanen, is beset by many hurdles that include lost phone numbers, mistaken addresses, alcoholism and a charming stray dog.

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Kaurismaki, one of the most celebrated directors in Finland with classics such as "Le Havre" and "The Other Side of Hope" to his credit, returned from retirement to make "Fallen Leaves".

"I think that non-successful, poor people, normal, ordinary people have the most interesting stories to tell and I'm happy that Kaurismaki keeps telling these stories.

"They are very relatable (because) he always seems to take the side of the little person in the world. There's deep humanism in his work and the way he sees people as equal," Poysti, an established actor in Finland across TV, films and animation, told PTI in an interview.

More than who's rich or poor, "true emotions and humanity" are at the centre in Kaurismaki's cinema, added Vatanen.

"It's interesting for actors, of course, that you can relate to those feelings easily," he added.

Vatanen, who has worked in Finnish films such as "Lapland Odyssey", "Risto", "Fantastic" and "Koskinen", said they toured Europe and the US with the film and are surprised audiences connected with it on an emotional level.

"Everybody sort of relates to the story. It's been quite overwhelming to represent this film and have a chance to meet Aki's fans all over the world. This is quite a meaningful film, especially during these times. It brings hope to people and there's a lot of comfort in it," the actor said.

Poysti said while Kaurismaki is a legend in Finland, they were surprised to discover his fandom in different parts of the world such as the US, Japan or Mexico.

"Everybody's so happy that he's back and made this new movie. Finland is a small country with a lot of forests and a lot of silence. But his humour and his deep humanism speaks to everybody. So it has been quite an overwhelming journey," she said.

Vatanen said Kaurismaki is the maestro of Finnish cinema, who has been making movies for over four decades.

"Alma and I, we've been growing under his influence. He's always been around in Finland making movies. He has a huge impact on Finnish culture and cinema. To us, it was a great opportunity to have a chance to work with him," he added.

Poysti revealed she and Vatanen were surprised to receive a call to meet Kaurismaki as the filmmaker had announced his retirement from movies in 2017.

"How we got on board is a little bit of a mystery to us because we got phone calls one day saying, 'Would you like to meet the director for lunch?' And we were quite surprised. This was not something you could see coming. Six years ago, he said he was done making films but then we went to lunch and here we talked about this and that.

"And then he said he had this idea for a film and asked if we wanted to join the project. And, of course, the answer was yes. Rumour has it that he saw some of our previous work and thought that we would be a good match in this movie," she said.

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