Dir: Aki Kaurismäki, 1988, Finland, 73 minutues, Cert:15
Sun 19 November // 17:00
In Kaurismäki’s drolly existential crime drama, a coal miner named Taisto (Turo Pajala) attempts to leave behind a provincial life of inertia and economic despair, only to get into ever deeper trouble. Yet a minor-key romance with a hilariously dispassionate meter maid (Susanna Haavisto) might provide a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Ariel, which boasts a terrific soundtrack of Finnish tango and Baltic pop music and lovely cinematography by Kaurismäki’s longtime cameraman Timo Salmimen, put its director on the international map.
Doors open: 16:30
Film start time: 17:00
We may show a trailer or two but we never screen a programme of adverts so the film will start a few minutes after the advertised time.
“Beautifully made... Reiterates the theme of Shadows in Paradise with greater sureness and skill. The film has a balladic compression and a lyricism that’s both affecting and sour... Effortlessly shifting gears from road film to worker drama to prison story, Kaurismäki’s deadpan saga is filled with oblique sight (and sound) gags.”
– J. Hoberman, Premiere
“A compelling blend of gritty realism and escapist fantasy.”
– Anton Bitel, Eye for Film
“Pares down storytelling to bare-bone essentials to create a sense of darkly amusing absurdity that actually has more meaning than any number of more conventional films trying to find significance in the lives of marginal people.”
– Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
Screening as part of a season of classic Kaurismäki films https://cubecinema.com/programme/view/kaurismaki/ playing on Sundays in November/December
The poignant, deadpan films of Aki Kaurismäki are pitched somewhere in the wintry nether lands between comedy and tragedy. And rarely in his body of work has the line separating those genres seemed thinner than in what is often identified as his "Proletariat Trilogy," Shadows in Paradise, Ariel, and The Match Factory Girl. In these three films, something like social-realist farces, Kaurismäki surveys the working-class outcasts of his native Finland with detached yet disarming amusement. Featuring commanding, off-key visual compositions and delightfully dour performances, the films in this triptych exemplify the talents of a unique and highly influential film artist.