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Aki Kaurismäki's Proletariat Trilogy (Shadows in Paradise / Ariel / The Match Factory Girl)
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The most compact and stylistically impressive of Aki Kaurismäki's perversely minimalist Finnish comedies, The Match Factory Girl stars his blond, blank-faced Garbo, Kati Outinen, as a downtrodden factory worker whose attempts to discover love and companionship are constantly thwarted by her possessive parents and a succession of cloddish, exploitative men. Kaurismäki's deadpan style--the carefully inexpressive acting, motionless camera, and rigidly geometrical compositions--avoids both sentimentality and sarcasm. Although the girl's plight is taken seriously, there is something in the extremity of the situations, and in the lovingly depicted hideousness of her Helsinki home life, that is irresistibly comic. Inspired by the Tiananmen Square uprising, the match factory girl resolves to take a revolutionary stand, arms herself with a packet of rat poison, and sets out for revenge. The video includes an equally hilarious music-video rendition of "Those Were the Days" by Kaurismäki's house band, the Leningrad Cowboys. In each of these films, the director relies on the publics understanding of poor economy to order empathetic viewing. If one doesnt prescribe to blaming government for societal hardships, his characters seem pathetic and borderline idiotic. This gray area between sympathy and contempt is Kaurismaki territory, and viewing his films reminds one how the personal is political. --Trinie Dalton and Dave Kehr
Top Customer Reviews
But is it too much to hope for the rest?
I'll light some candles and do a jig (or better yet, a tango) and see what happens...
No culture is more taciturn than that of the Finns.
These films appeal to fans of Mamet scripts that are slowed down, and to fans of Jim Jarmush films.
Jarmush much admires Kaurismaki, and the last episode of his movie "Night on Earth" is a tribute to the director.
If you liked "The Man With No Name" you will like all three of these movies, although for me they are much better, as they are earlier and more simplistic films where "less is more" is well demonstrated.
You probably will dislike these films if you disliked the Oscar nominated "The Man With No Name".
In all of his movies, the story and actors move slow, yet beautifully, in their workers' "low" blue collar world.
Excellent use of color keeps the environment from being visually depressing, and subtle and consistent humor gives hope and uplifts these romances...
yes..all three are romances.
Aki Kaurismäki's Proletariat Trilogy (Shadows in Paradise / Ariel / The Match Factory Girl)For me, the Trilogy is perfect filmmaking--sad, humorous, ironic, dead pan, sometimes with a happy ending. I don't want to go into any detail, one can read the description for that. The Trilogy is emotion-driven, which is the type of film that I gravitate towards, serious but w/an underlying sense of humour. If you like Jarmusch, John Lurie, Wayne Wang, maybe even Hal Hartley... you will LOVE this. There are "on and off" box-sets, and this one is on on on. 5 stars, no kidding.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I happened to see this in the library and it looked intriguing. Unfortunately the target audience seems to be those who think anything thrown together in an "art house" manner... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Long Tom
Why I didn't discover these films sooner, will remain a mystery to me, but I'm glad I finally got to see them! Read morePublished on September 18, 2012 by Carlos Romero natural cinephile
With this box set, the Criterion Collection has brought together for American audiences three 1980s films by Aki Kaurismäki. Read morePublished on January 23, 2012 by Christopher Culver
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