• Deadpan comedy is set up from the opening in Aki Kaurismäki’s Drifting Clouds as a piano player croons romantic paradoxes.
  • Kaurismäki’s rigid minimal approach has rightly drawn comparisons to Jim Jarmusch over the years. In fact, the movie theater within the world of Drifting Clouds has posters for Night on Earth (along with L’argent and L’Atalante). Kaurismäki sharply critiques modern popular contemporary cinema with the blare of machine gun audio echoing out of the theater.
  • Another strong entry or piece of the pie in Kaurismäki’s oeuvre. This is a working class tragedy played as comedy by Ilona (Kati Outinen- Kaurismäki regular) and Kari (Lauri Koponen). A recession has hit Helsinki- unemployment, poverty, a failed medical exam…. an Italian neorealism-like series of misfortunes. “Life is short and miserable” is a line from the film. “How did we do?”- “I lost everything” while paying for the colored television on installments.
  • The film was supposed to star Kaurismäki’s go to male lead Matti Pellonpää (Shadows in Paradise– also in the Helsinki portion of Night on Earth as well) but he passed away in 1995 at the tragically young age of 44.

This is a working class tragedy played as comedy by Ilona (Kati Outinen- Kaurismäki regular)

  • The Dubrovnik restaurant has this great neon sign- and it has Kaurismäki’s unassuming, retro hip old school vibe.
  • Kaurismäki shoots mostly in medium long compositions—but he does track in on a tight, melancholic closeup at the 30-minute mark
  • At the 35-minute mark he tracks back from Outinen’s character after a series of failed job interviews.

Simple yet lovely Almodovarian-like couch compositions. One at the 55-minute mark with the couple together– the bare background- one lighting fixture- one lone painting- but all controlled and purposeful.

  • The final heartwarming success story includes the working class ensemble surrounding the Ilona and Kari characters: the bouncer, the drunk cool- a ragtag and loveable family.
  • Recommend / Highly Recommend border