Fallen Leaves

Finnish, English Subtitles

In a version of Helsinki that seems displaced from reality, two solitary people live a monotonous, drab existence. They go to their bland, colourless jobs, then they go to the same bar, afterwards, going home to listen to the radio. The same thing night after night, for eternity. But that monotony and repetition is shattered when these two lost souls come together and fall in love.


The newest (20th!!) film by the Finnish master Aki Kaurismäki is a delightfully deadpan romance that blends humanist themes of working class solidarity with a strange retro world that exists completely separate from our own. This film was the winner of the Jury Prize (and more importantly, the runner-up for the Palme Dog, which awards the best performance by a dog) at the Cannes Film Festival, and just came off of sold out runs at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Vancouver International Film Festival.

Kaurismäki’s work is stylistically similar to Wes Anderson in many ways. He uses a deadpan acting style against the backdrop of a beautiful and colourful world, which accentuates the loneliness of the characters and the absurdity of their lives. But while Anderson’s films are interested in fantasy and whimsy, Kaurismäki’s work is interested in real human beings and their struggles. The effect is a beautiful and stylish movie with a touching humanist message. Can love help us to brave the monotony of the modern world?