Aki Kaurismaki’s Nordic “Fairy Tale”

In today’s film industry, Aki Kaurismaki is known for his pursuit of maverick stylized art.

Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki was born in 1957. His family name “Kaurismaki” means “mountain of deer” in Finnish. He has not studied at the film school and has been a film critic for several years, but he is one of the most important authors and film directors in the world today.

Aki was hailed as “the most promising director in the new century” by the French “Cinema Manual”. His predecessor, Swedish film master Ingmar Bergman, regarded him as “the most promising director in Northern Europe.” The other “Master Candidate” is of course the “Danish Madman” Lars von Trier. In comparison, the two have very different styles. Aki’s movie world is like a Nordic fairy tale, composed of kind people, unique humor and amazing romance, never absent bands, and a hopeful ending. Lars von · Tyre is the opposite of all this.

Of course, Aki and Lars von Trier are not without things in common. They are both “rebels.” Lars von Trier questioned everything, including faith. When asked “Do you have faith?” Akie’s answer was, “My faith is my dog. It takes bones to me, if there are bones.” Then, where do people without faith find comfort? ? He said: “For me, it was when I found mushrooms in the forest and made a salad with potatoes (at that moment).”

In the world of Lars von Trier, humans are always selfish and cruel. Similarly, Aki believes in human nature, but does not believe in humans. He bluntly said in an interview: human existence is like a huge mistake, no one needs us, we destroy whatever we encounter, we live on a degraded and dying planet, when we die , Nothing will be left. He believes: “Whether it’s evolution or God created us, I can’t understand why we are better than mammals, but what we do is harm others and other creatures. 90% of the people in the world just grow potatoes to feed their families. Live, and then some people start wars in order to have power and destroy their lives.”

The accusation against capitalism
In 2003, Aki’s work “A Man Without a Past” was nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. He refused to go to the United States because he did not like “participating in a country at war”. In the same year, he canceled his visit to the United States 20 minutes before the plane took off in order to boycott the 40th New York Film Festival and supported his colleague, Iranian film master Abbas Kiarostami, who was denied a visa by the U.S. government And unable to exhibit in New York.

“Most of the wealth of society is in the hands of some wealthy people and bankers, and then give others a small amount of money to use them to consume products produced by large companies. Capitalism is a crime.” Resistance to capitalism Throughout Aki’s work, in his films, the working class lives and works with hope, but they still cannot escape the fate of unemployment. Business owners and bankers never pity them, and only themselves can help them. . An interesting thing is that three years before the banking crisis in Finland, in 1987, Aki filmed “Hamlet”, which involved the disintegration of large companies, just like the prophet Nostradamus (author of “Hundred Poems”) ) Arrived in Finland. Before and after filming “Hamlet”, Aki filmed “Lone Shadow in Heaven” (1986) and “Launch” (1988), together with “Women in the Match Factory” (1990), known as the “Working Class Trilogy” “Or “Trilogy of Losers”.

“Lonely Shadow in Paradise” is simple and moving, about a circuitous love relationship between a sanitation worker and a supermarket cashier. The most moral scene in the film is that after the two broke up, the former picked up a record from the trash, and the latter broke into his home late at night and turned on the record player. In the music of Spanish love songs, the former was knocked down. By the trash can. After the long night, the former finally said to the latter: Let’s go together, you can’t be alone on your honeymoon. So the two boarded the cruise together.

“Launch” is full of kindness and romance, telling the story of an unemployed miner who never stops “living”. Even as a person without an address, even if he was robbed with nothing, even if he just wanted to get back his robbed money and went to jail, he never left music, beer, friendship, love and hope in his daily life. In the end, he accomplished the feat of regaining freedom, dignity and happiness with extreme lightness and recklessness. When the protagonist and lover board the “lift-off”, it is like Aki is blessing all people in trouble.

“The Match Factory Female Worker” is the most shocking. Aki keenly noticed that in the working class, female laborers are at the bottom and are the most suppressed and exploited. Her existence is only to support the family and undertake housework. She has a good view of beauty (a beautiful dress). Longing is regarded as depravity, and her emotions are trampled on by others infinitely. The female match factory workers finally decided to die with the world.

When filming the miserable lives of these “losers”, Aki always kept the people in the film with dignity, deliberately making them more ironic when they encounter social or other trampling. “In my opinion, because of this, they can surpass those who tortured them, and they even have the ability to laugh at themselves for their misery.”

Another famous trilogy by Aki is the “Finnish Trilogy”, which are “Floating Clouds” (1996), “Man Without Past” (2002) and “Twilight Light” (2005).

“Floating Clouds” tells the story of a couple who are both unemployed and discusses how decent and clumsy people face the ruthless capitalist world. They are romantic, tenacious, and open-minded, and they will bring roses home when they are dead, and when they finally get out of the quagmire and set fireworks in their hearts, they just go outside and smoke a cigarette.

“A Man Without a Past” tells how a man who has lost his memory, social identity, and everything else (like the protagonist of “Luxury”, was also robbed of nothing, even more thoroughly) how to rebuild his life. There is a famous line in the film: “Never give up, even when you are unconscious.” Not giving up is not simply survival, but still has his own decency and pursuit. He goes to a restaurant to order a glass of water, and then secretly Put in the tea bag he brought; he admires a woman and will boldly ask to send her home and kiss her suddenly. He forgot who he was, but he did not change his romantic nature.

“Twilight” is about a hapless security guard. A blonde beauty suddenly broke into his dull and lonely life, like a ray of light in the darkness, but behind this light was a cold conspiracy. She made him lose his job, framed him to jail, and almost killed him after he was released. When he was beaten all over his body, he finally held his hand with one of his friends’ hands. He firmly told his friend: “I won’t die here.”

In Aki’s movies, no matter what the situation of the characters, there are some things that always exist, such as roses, music, and beer, as if they are constantly telling the audience that the best things in the world are never expensive. Just like the movies he made, they are not expensive either.

Aki is dismissive of commercial films. “I have nothing to do with the film industry. They shoot them, and I shoot mine. My budget is always low, so funding is not a problem. I am always free. I have nothing to do. Talent, but I have freedom.” In his opinion, Hollywood died a long time ago, but these “stupid” movies, including all Oscar-winning films, occupy 90% of theaters in most countries.

A compassionate heart
So what was the reason he made the movie? “Film is very democratic. In the dark, it doesn’t matter who wins and who wears what. Movies can be a kind of hope, of course I’m talking about real movies.” Aki believes that in the best case, movies To comfort people in a certain way, as the Catholic church in the past did. If a person can perceive art, he will get some relief. Movies are not an art form, but to calm the workers so that they don’t have to make a revolution. He said: “The Finns are half Slavs and half Westerners. We are drinking vodka and listening to rock music. This growing environment makes us very melancholy. I can’t inspire people, I just want people to laugh. So. Although I have made some sad movies, what I like more is that the audience is happier when they leave the theater than when they go in. This is the basis for me to make movies, so my movies are always overly optimistic.”

Aki inherited a part of Bresson’s legacy, such as minimalism, which is reflected in shooting techniques and lens use on the one hand; on the other hand, reflected in the narrative structure and length. His stories are always very simple and never complicated. The plot, and at the same time he rarely allows the movie to exceed 90 minutes. In his view, the basic criterion of all artistic expressions is that they are unadorned, simple and simple. Starting from an initial idea or narrative, it is gradually reduced until it can fully demonstrate its wishes.

There are always many colorful spaces in Aki’s cinematic universe, even though those spaces are often primitive, such as rooms without much furniture. These spaces are lonely and quiet, with a certain modernity, just like still life paintings. And his characters are always unsmiling, living and acting in a state of near inactivity, and at the same time they have great tenderness, kindness, affection and perseverance in their hearts. He never asks actors to make any exaggerated behaviors, or burst out very intense emotions, he believes that these should be done by photography and editing.

Although he regarded Bresson as an enlightenment, Aki disagreed with Bresson’s view of actors as puppets. He believed that actors had flesh and blood, and he always worked with the same class of actors and the same team. “We can make all movies sound. When we do, no one speaks, everyone will whistle instead of all languages.”

Aki Kaurismaki.

Aki Kaurismaki deliberately makes his own works form a strong reference to the society and times he lives in. Social and historical reflections and social realities are the source of his film stories.

And music. Live band performances appear in almost every movie of Aki. He even filmed “the worst rock band in the world”-Leningrad Cowboys (“Leningrad Cowboys” and “Leningrad Cowboys” Meet Moses”). The director who loves the band so much can only be compared with Yugoslavian director Kusturica in the movie world. And Kusturica praised Aki this way: “His films are completely different from this hysterical era. His humanitarian standpoint is unbelievable. In addition to technical and digital films, there is indeed a place to give Those who believe that life is a miracle.”

Finally, there is a bizarre and grim sense of humor. This sense of humor forms part of Aki’s film aesthetics, which makes people sometimes classify Aki’s films as comedies. Aki himself calls this kind of humor “humor behind the corner”. It seems to be piled up with the absurdity and ruthlessness of reality. When people look at it, they laugh, and the slow, clumsy, and persistent characters are standing in this corner. They don’t know why they lost their jobs. They want to set up sanitation companies, security companies, restaurants, and go to the bank with enthusiasm. The guarantor is a friend who has nothing to themselves or a friend who works in a shoe store, and they will be bank The manager replied: Are you a comedian? Are you here to entertain me?

Aki’s humor also has a nonsensical color. In “Floating Clouds” there is such a plot: the protagonist from the movie theater angrily asks the ticket seller to refund the money, the reason is “Isn’t it a comedy? I didn’t laugh once, a liar!” And the ticket seller said that you didn’t pay at all. Buy tickets. At first glance, this conversation sounds very nonsensical, but when the protagonist leaves and the protagonist’s wife continues to talk to the conductor, we know that the conductor is the protagonist’s sister and let his brother enter the venue for free, and the man is only talking to his sister. Losing his temper. Similar examples are numerous in Aki’s movies.

Although Aki often expresses his disappointment with humans, he may be one of the creators who love humans the most. He said that the worst thing in human nature is greed, and the best thing is kindness. So in his Nordic “fairy tales”, there are many greedy people who mess up the world, and what he does is to give kindness to those who are harmed by greed.

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