My first and spontaneous reaction to this movie is that is very strange to watch an Aki Kaurismäki movie and understand what actors say instead of reading subtitles. Not that his movies have lots of dialogue, nor this one, that has but the essential words to guide you into this deadpan faces performances (typical) that with very slight expressions tell everything that characters are feeling in a lovely story (non-typical) that absolutely melted my heart all the way to tears when the movie was over. Yes, also thought that probably I’m the only person that could cry with a Kaurismäki movie.
Then, also spontaneously my first thoughts were to how marvelous is the use of light in this movie and in most Kaurismäki movies, as most of his Finland set movies light allows us to feel the cold both from weather as from situations. Here in lower than Finland geographical setting he does exactly the same but with the use of light eventually what we see in the screen, the weather and the complete film experience becomes warm, very warm. Exceptional. I know the story also helps, but is the use of light what really warms the story, that’s it according to me.
Then you have the most carefully crafted production design, amazing visual compositions, many scenes that look like and thus become awesome photographs, great actors performances –yes most if not all scenes with deadpan faces and almost expressionless body language- that tell all with small, very small details, plus a masterful direction that allows flawless fluidity of story and film. Marvelous.
Literally film tells a story about immigration of the not legal kind, but actually according to me is a very simple story with a clear message and morale: do good and you will receive good. A message executed in the most unusual way you can think of, unless you’re very familiar with Kaurismäki storytelling style and still, maybe, you will also find some oddity that probably comes more from the non-Finland setting.
Kaurismäki movies fascinate and mesmerize me, Le Havre is no exception but this movie had the immense power to make me feel beyond what his other films have done and for this I’ll be grateful as feeling intense (warm) emotions in such a dry environment is kind of explosive. Thanks master filmmaker and can’t wait for your next film.
As we know film is Finland submission to Oscar, had its premiere at 2011 Cannes where was in competition for the Palme d’Or and won the FIPRESCI prize, continued to collect honors up to winning the most prestigious Prix Louis Delluc among other accolades. All honors are more than well-deserved.
I was thinking how could be the experience of watching this film when never seen a Kaurismäki movie before; if that’s your case I strongly suggest you do not start with this movie, watch first any other set in Finland Kaurismäki film and then watch this one, I am sure you will enjoy this movie a lot more if is not your first experience with Kaurismäki narrative and visual storytelling style.
Love the movie and thanks to Cannes 2011 also the director –he’s so funny, exactly like his films that have that kind of humor that travels more to the dark and sarcastic side- but I know that this kind of movies is not for all audiences and believe that his films are an acquired taste that once you taste them and like them, you will strive to have more and more.
Watch trailer @MOC