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Lights in the Dusk

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Frequently Bought Together

Lights in the Dusk + Aki Kaurismäki's Proletariat Trilogy (Shadows in Paradise / Ariel / The Match Factory Girl) + The Man Without a Past
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Editorial Reviews

LIGHTS IN THE DUSK concludes the trilogy began by DRIFTING CLOUDS and THE MAN WITHOUT A PAST. Where the trilogy's first film was about unemployment and the second about homelessness, this final installment is about loneliness. Koistinen searches the hard world for a small crack to crawl in through, but both his fellow beings and the faceless apparatus of the society conspire to crush his modest hopes, one after another. Criminal elements exploit his longing for love and his position as a night watchman in a robbery they pull off, leaving Koistinen to face the consequences. Thus Koistinen is deprived of his job, his freedom, and his dreams. A poignant reminder of the lot of the emotional 'have-nots' in our world, this dark jewel of a film glows with genuine warmth and a small but enriching glimmer of hope.


Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ilkka Koivula, Janne Hyytiäinen, Maria Järvenhelmi, Maria Heiskanen
  • Directors: Aki Kaurismäki
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Strand Releasing
  • DVD Release Date: October 16, 2007
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000T988DS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,619 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Lights in the Dusk" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tsuyoshi on August 30, 2007
Format: DVD
"Lights in the Dusk" ("Laitakaupungin valot"), the final entry in Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki's "loser trilogy" (after "Drifting Clouds" and "The Man without a Past") is, in a nutshell, about one of the loneliest men in the movie history. The film may not be as impressive as other two installments (partly because of the absence of his muse Kati Outinen who shows up as cameo here), but Kaurismaki's quaint minimalist narrative style and his life-affirming attitude is unmistakable in his newest film with an undertone of old Hollywood noir and one Charles Chaplin film which has a similar title.

Kostinen (Janne Hyytiäinen) is a middle-aged night watch man at a shopping center in Helsinki. Silent and aloof, he is not a happy man, disliked, and perhaps mistreated, by his superiors and co-workers. Well, but Kostinen, whose loneliness reminds us of the characters in Dostoyevsky novels, anyway dislikes them too. The only time he shows his emotions after routine work is a brief moment when he drops in a kiosk and chats with the lady named Aila (Maria Heiskanen) there. His lonely life seems never to change forever until one day he is suddenly approached by a woman named Mirja (Maria Järvenhelmi) in a café, who asks him for a date and is eager to know things about his jobs as security guard.

There is nothing surprising about this "femme fatale" and the mobsters in black suit behind her. You already know the true motive of the woman, whose appearance virtually causes the subsequent downward spiral of Kostinen's fate. There is someone who is offering a help though, and that person is there just one step away from him, but Kostinen is the last person to realize that.
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Format: DVD
Released in 2006, Aki Kaurismäki's film LAITAKAUPUNGIN VALOT (released internationally as Lights in the Dusk), completes a loose trilogy of films that deal with underdogs, employ similar colour palettes and are set in a strange fantasy Finland where the social divisions and rock music of the 1950s have persisted into the present day.

The film is concerned with the sufferings of Koistinen (Janne Hyytiäinen), a security guard who is not just neglected by his coworkers and society, but eventually set up by femme fatale Mirja (Maria Järvenhelmi) for a jewelry heist. Prominent supporting roles are Lindholm (Ilkka Koivula), the mastermind of the criminal operation, and Aila (Maria Heiskanen), a hot dog vendor who seems to be Koistinen's only contact with the world, though "friend" would be too strong a word.

The previous two entries in Kaurismäki's "Losers" trilogy -- (Driftng Clouds) and MIES VAILLA MENNEISYTTÄ (The Man Without a Past), had their characters knocked about, but ultimately they pulled through and found happiness. LAITAKAUPUNGIN VALOT is a much bleaker film. The cruelty directed at Koistinen is more brutal and the ending, while hinting at something positive, is ambiguous and painful to watch.

Kaurismäki has really come to repeat himself, maintaining not just the same atmosphere from film to film, but even reusing stock scenes like a man being beaten and left for dead at the docks, prison labour and awkward dates. Nonetheless, here offers something new in crossing that thin line from deadpan humour to outright tragedy. Kaurismäki has always maintained an austere tone, but here he pares things down even further. This is a flawed film, but one with many admirable features and I'd generally recommend that one see it, though perhaps after the earlier two films in this trilogy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Roland E. Zwick on September 6, 2008
Format: DVD
***1/2

Clocking in at a pithy one-hour-and-fourteen minutes, "Lights in the Dusk" is an existentialist Finnish comedy in which a mild-mannered night watchman, who seems to be living in a world of his own, becomes an unwitting patsy in a jewelry-store robbery when he opens up to a woman who has seemingly taken a romantic interest in him.

As the much put-upon working man who allows a femme fatale to trick him into doing her dirty work for her, Janne Hyytiaien gives a marvelously deadpanned performance that perfectly reflects the spare, archly humorous world director Aki Kaurismaki has created for the film. With a tone of cool detachment, the script rarely lets us into the mind of this strangely uncommunicative and inscrutable young man, whose emotions and thoughts are always buried somewhere deep beneath an expressionless surface. Yet, somehow, despite his reticence, he still manages to pique our interest and engage our sympathy, primarily because his predicament and his lack of a conventional reaction to it are both so comically unsettling. We find ourselves identifying and rooting for him even though we don't really get to know all that much about him. In a way, he reminds us a bit of Meursault from Camus` "The Stranger," a man so emotionally detached from the world around him that his actions aren't always explicable to those of us who are residing in the "real world" watching him perform them.

Though it is a difficult film to pigeonhole, "Lights in the Dusk" is a modest, unassuming work that touches both the heart and the funny bone in roughly equal measure.
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