Archive of films Le Havre / Le Havre
Finland / France / Germany
2011, 93 min
Marcel lives a quiet life shining shoes until he is forced to act and help an African refugee. The film, shot in Kaurismäki’s typical style, is gently enhanced by a social theme that gives it a certain urgency. The tragicomedy was successfully shown in competition at the Cannes IFF where it took the FIPRESCI Prize.
Le Havre might be a good place if you’re looking to find seclusion, live a quiet life, and inconspicuously watch other people. This is just what Marcel Marx thinks, a man who observes those around him as he shines shoes, invisible to most passersby. Not earning much at his vocation, he must buy a baguette on credit for a humble dinner with his wife, but you can’t buy peace of mind at any price. Then suddenly his ascetic calm is disrupted by two events: his wife becomes seriously ill, and he meets an African boy who is fleeing to London two steps ahead of the police. Can this sudden pileup of tense situations be favorably resolved? The movie is shot in Kaurismäki’s typical lethargic style, full of jokes so subtle that it’s hard to be sure if they were even intended as jokes at all. Simple shot composition, precise and heartfelt acting, and original set decoration full of old but intact furniture give the work and its social dimension a touch of timelessness.
About the director
Aki Kaurismäki (b. 1957, Orimattila, Finland), a regular guest at the most prestigious film festivals, is one of Europe’s most unique directors and screenwriters working today. He started out as an actor in the films of his brother Mika (The Worthless / Arvottomat, 1982), and as a director he debuted in features with an adaptation of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment (Rikos ja rangaistus, 1983) before gaining fame with Leningrad Cowboys Go America (1989). His films Lights in the Dusk (Laitakaupungin valot, 2006), The Man Without a Past (Mies vailla menneisyyttä, 2002 – nominated for an Oscar), and "the last silent film of the 20th century,” Juha (1999), were presented at the Karlovy Vary festival and made it into Czech distribution. In 1992 the Karlovy Vary IFF organized a retrospective of Kaurismäki’s work.
About the film
Color, 35 mm
|Dir. of Photography:||Timo Salminen|
|Production:||Sputnik Oy, Pyramide Productions, Pandora Film|
|Cast:||André Wilms, Kati Outinen, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Blondin Miguel|
|Contact:||CinemArt, a.s., The Match Factory|
Film Institution Rep.