HomeMoviesFallen Leaves, review of the film by Aki Kaurismäki – Cannes 76

Fallen Leaves, review of the film by Aki Kaurismäki – Cannes 76

Fallen Leaves, review of the film by Aki Kaurismäki – Cannes 76

It dates back more than a quarter of a century to the first time of Aki Kaurismäki to the Cannes Film Festivalwhere his Kuolleet Lehdet (The Fallen Leaves which we will soon see also in Italy, distributed by Lucky Red) competes for the Palme d’Or of the 76th edition after four precedents, between the Traveling clouds of 1996 and the latest Miracle in Le Havre of 2011. A great return for an old friend, not always interested in experiencing a new and different cinema, but rather in telling the stories he loves and in the way we love. Without renouncing to remain tied to current events, which permeate the whole story, starting from the working conditions of the world in which we live up to the attention paid to the war between Russia and Ukraine which is still raging.

Fallen Leaves: Love and dead leaves

Ansa and Holappa (Alma Poysti, Jussi Vatanen) live in Helsinki, alone. She is employed in a supermarket, from which she is fired for having allowed homeless people to eat the food destined for the landfill, he is on a construction site, where, however, he is discovered drinking on the job, one night the two meet, by chance.

The hope of finding true love brings them closer, only to vanish between lost telephone numbers and the impossibility of being able to trace the mysterious Ansa. When the outcome of the mutual search now seems obvious, the two find each other, only to separate again due to Holappa’s alcoholism problems. Yet another – and perhaps definitive – obstacle that an increasingly difficult life seems to oppose to those seeking happiness.

The working class in Kaurismäki’s Paradise

After Shadows in Heaven (1986), Ariel (1988) and The match girl (1990), a further chapter extends the so-called working class trilogy of Aki Kaurismäki, which – as mentioned – here confirms the attention for those who live on the edge of the world that we like to see. A gentle humanist, both measured and austere, especially in his formal choices. Geometry, the use of space, clear but not bright colors and silence are those that have always characterized his cinema, as well as the hopes and daily struggle of the working class.

To which the two protagonists belong, nameless for almost the entire film and stubbornly in pursuit of hope. Of a love. May he compensate them for all the accumulated disappointments and pains. A critique of capitalism and a research that the Finnish director orchestrates in his own time, shrewd musical choices, building them around a context that is only apparently poor in which there are few – but fundamental – outstanding elements.

Those that mark the romantic adventure of its protagonists, even the secondary ones, and of Kaurismäki himself, who enjoys being sentimental here and there. Featuring first-time quotes from Superman, on the cover of Action Comics, and cinematic ones from The Lost Continent, Brief meeting And The contempt (in the posters in the background), of the Jarmusch of The dead don’t die (the film chosen for Ansa and Holappa’s first date) and for direct references to The diary of a country curate Of Robert Bresson and al Bands apart Of Jean-Luc Godard which close one of the many surreal and amusing dialogues of which it is made Fallen Leaves.

Which occasionally brings us back to reality, especially with the news we hear on the radio – in all homes, where no one has a television, but the rotary phone is used – and which tell of the beginning of the war between Russia and Ukraine. A clear indication that the world we are seeing is not so distant that it can be faced with nostalgia, that the drama does not fade away with the smiles and sweetness of a tragicomedy that seemed lost, but that despite everything there is always room for love, redemption, happiness.