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The Man Without A Past

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Today we went to the cinema again, seeing The Man Without a Past, or Mies vailla menneisyyttä as they say in Finnish - the new film by Aki Kaurismäki.

As many of the Scandinavian films I have seen, it was very slow, sad and good. Basically the story is about a man who is beaten up so badly that he loses his memory, thus having to re-start his life. Unlike, say, in Memento he doesn't start to try hunting down his past, but rather tries to make do and sort his life out. His situation is bad and he's living in relative poverty among other poor people.

I find it amazing that despite the poverty of the people and the bad situations they're in, they keep a certain bit of dignity, optimism and pride in the way the live and look onto their future. This seems unthinkable in Hollywood films, where people tend to be hysterical, use drugs or kill each other in similar situations, rather than worrying about wearing a clean shirt, getting a job and getting a date with the girl from the Salvation Army.

Many scenes were quite remarkable in that you'd consider them trivial or even pathetic if you saw them in everyday life - think of a Salvation Army band playing wannabe rock'n'roll music to a bunch of homeless people, some of their officers not even being sure that it's a good idea to do this. Still, in the film it's perfectly clear that this makes the people listening very happy and doing this means something to the musicians. Just a small scene among many similar ones.

Finally, (Scandinavian) Elk riding a bike.I always like that apparently Finnish people don't talk much. Only what really needs to be said, is actually said. No waste there. In fact, this doesn't seem to be a film cliché, I've also heard of Finnish people saying that while they like their new German colleagues, it would be nice if they talked less. I guess I sympathise with Scandinavia anyway…

Strangely there's another fact joining The Man Without A Past and the new Bond other than me having seen both of them within two days: The Clash's London Calling is briefly played in both of them.

[Buy at amazon .com, .uk, .de]

December 4, 2002, 3:28

Tagged as aki kaurismäki, country:fi, film, man without a past.

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