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Finnish legend Aki Kaurismaki returns with immigrant tale, Refugee

Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki is getting back to filmmaking after five years with immigrant drama, Refugee.

world cinema Updated: Dec 16, 2015 17:17 IST
Gautaman Bhaskaran
Gautaman Bhaskaran
Hindustan Times
Aki Kaurismaki,Refugee,Finland
Legendary Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki is known for his works such as La Vie de Boheme (1992), The Man Without a Past (2002) and Le Havre (2011).(Cannes Film Festival)

The celebrated Finnish director, Aki Kaurismaki, is all set to make his next film, Refugee. For five years, he had made no movie, and his fans had almost given up on him. His last work was in 2011, Le Havre.

Le Havre premiered at Cannes and clinched a critics award. It is a comic drama, which though tackles a very serious issue. The movie is a hauntingly moving story of a shoe-shiner, who tries to save an immigrant child in the French port town of Le Havre.

Kaurismaki, whose Le Havre was his second French language film after the 1992 La Vie de Boheme, said at Cannes: “The European cinema has not much addressed the continuously worsening financial, political, and above all, moral crisis that has lead to the ever-unsolved question of refugees; refugees trying to find their way into the EU from abroad, and their irregular, often substandard treatment... I have no answer to this problem, but I still wanted to deal with this matter in this anyhow unrealistic movie.”

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Le Havre was the first of a trilogy on port towns, and Refugee would be the second. This film will focus on the current migrant crisis in Europe, which has also hit Finland. “The situation in Tornio - a border town in north-eastern Finland - roused something in me. I developed the project just last week,” Kaurismaki said in a recent interview with the TV-Maailma weekly.

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Marcel Marx (André Wilms) and Idrissa (Blondin Miguel) in Aki Kaurismäki's Le Havre. (Cannes Film Festival)

The movie will describe the arrival of a group of refugees in Finland. The lead character, a young illegal immigrant, will be essayed by a Syrian actor. A Kaurismaki regular, Finnish artist Sakari Koosmanen (The Man Without A Past), will play a travelling salesman-turned-restaurateur.

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Kaurismaki, born in 1957, grew up at a time when the world was terrorised by television, and he continues to use 35mm film -- a tradition he calls “real cinema”. His striking minimalism lends itself to allusions, which are often invisible. The classic examples have been works like The Match Factory Girl, Drifting Clouds, Lights in the Dusk and True Crimes.

First Published: Dec 07, 2015 12:34 IST