'Fallen Leaves': an adorable romantic comedy with Kaurismaki's seal

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‘Fallen Leaves’: an adorable romantic comedy with Kaurismaki’s seal

Four decades behind the cameras and Aki Kaurismaki continues to do his thing: totally oblivious to trends and faithful to his humanist vision reflected through characters helpless in their own loneliness. The Finnish cinema, far from being depressing, constantly strives to find light in an often hostile world. His focus is always on the problems of the working class, but unlike most social cinema, the director is primarily concerned with the feelings of his characters and their relationships rather than activism on a larger scale.

‘Fallen Leaves’ presents Ansa, a middle-aged woman who lives single in her Helsinki apartment and works in a supermarket for a meager salary. Her life is monotonous and gray, and besides, she will soon lose her job for not obeying the company’s absurd rule of throwing away recently expired food instead of being able to take it home herself or give it to beggars. One night at a karaoke bar she suddenly meets Holappa, a construction worker who has a serious drinking problem. Both lonely souls meet and begin a romance in the purest Kaurismaki style.

The filmmaker composes his classic strange and tender atmosphere where his characters barely speak, but in that absence of dialogue and in that peculiar way of behaving is where the value of all his cinema lies, where he always finds a unique approach to the portrayal of human emotions. . His new film does not offer anything particularly new to its universe nor does it reveal a story that seeks to be unpredictable, but rather it is a film that firmly believes in the strength of the simplicity of its script and in a universal story to capture the hearts of the public. . And Kaurismaki achieves it, with his inimitable quality for comedy, with that characteristic and adorable sense of humor that could only occur to him.

Although ‘Fallen Leaves’ focuses on a romantic story, there is a strong socio-political undertone that runs through the entire proposal. The war in Ukraine is constantly in the background, adding even more sadness to the unpromising environment in which the characters move. Also, social discourse sneaks in, without ever overwhelming, into the actions they have to face and the helplessness in which they live.

But at the end of the day, this is a comedy, so the drama never permeates the story and, above all, the extreme tenderness with which the director narrates the story of his two protagonists triumphs, whose first The quote as such occurs in a film library and results in the best scene of the entire film. Among the cinephile references that accumulate in those few minutes, there is a hilarious joke about Bresson and an improbable tribute to Jim Jarmusch worthy of applause.

‘Fallen Leaves’ will not be the most surprising film of the year (nor does it pretend to be), but in its apparent coldness it hides the warmth of the most welcoming of hugs. A classic story, told with style and grace, about the mysterious power of love. And from the cinema.

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Simon Müller

Simon Müller is the driving force behind UMusic, embodying a lifelong passion for all things melodious. Born and raised in New York, his love for music took form at an early age and fueled his journey from an avid music enthusiast to the founder of a leading music-centered website. Simon's diverse musical tastes and intrinsic understanding of acoustic elements offer a unique perspective to the UMusic community. Sporting a dedicated commitment to aural enrichment and hearing health, his vision extends beyond just delivering news - he aspires to create a network of informed, appreciative music lovers. Spend a moment in Mueller's company, and you'd find his passion infectious – music isn’t simply his job, it’s his heartbeat.