• Aki Kaurismäki’s Lights in the Dusk marks the final film in his Finland Trilogy which includes Drifting Clouds (1996) and The Man Without a Past (2002).
  • Lights in the Dusk gets off to a bit of a bumpy start with Janne Hyytiäinen cast in the lead as Seppo. He must be the youngest and most handsome of Kaurismäki’s protagonists over the years and decades. This feels like a kind of betrayal (he is the auteur that has often worked with Matti Pellonpää and Kati Outinen—Outinen has a small role as a check out girl here).
  • Seppo is blue collar working class at least- a security guard that has been ostracized and is fed up.
  • Trademark short length feature- 75 minute- minimalism not just in style
  • Seppo is beat up—just like just about every Kaurismäki protagonist (happens twice to Seppo actually- once by men in a bar who lock up their dog, and once by gangsters). These are harsh, unforgiving worlds in Kaurismäki’s oeuvre- realism- but the ironic, comic tone preservers.

Cinematic paintings of the melancholic female hot dog diner worker—akin to Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks painting

  • Kaurismäki goes back to the living room arrangement at the 29-minute mark
  • Minimal yellow background—the décor and visual design match the sparse dialogue which matches the running time
  • Though they are certainly kindred spirits and Jim Jarmusch comes up often when discussing Kaurismäki—they are both unique enough- their own pace and rhythms- both now have ten or more archiveable films in their career.
  • At the 53-minute mark the diner worker is writing a letter to him. Seppo is in prison.
  • The colored drink is foreground left, background right is the houseplant, Seppo is embracing the frame

Kaurismäki’s patented sparse living room arrangements as well- simple yet elegant.

Kaurismäki is well aware of the visual poetics here holding this frame in the halfway house night shelter at the 59-minute mark looking out the window

  • The simple finale- hands embracing
  • Highly Recommend top 10 of the year quality