Monday, 8 April 2013

APRIL 8, 2013

082 LE HAVRE (2011) Directed by Aki Kaurismaki *****

So often I find myself watching films where people are determinedly unpleasant to each other, more often they are downright murderous, so it makes a refreshing change to seeuman  a film where people are really nice to their fellows. LE HAVRE isn't "nice" in a pleasant Mary Poppins sort of way but in a way that actually celebrates the human spirit - ordinary people struggling with life and helping each other. This may sound corny but in the hands of Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki it works wonderfully. The story concerns an elderly shoeshine who sets out to help a young illegal immigrant - no more than that. The film is filled with characters who even if only on the screen for a few moments are beautifully drawn from the black clad Police Inspector down to the local baker and greengrocer. It is very much an ensemble piece so I won't pick out anybody for special praise (except maybe Laitka) but I will, for the film fans, draw attention to two small roles - the informant and the doctor - which are played respectively  by Jean-Pierre Leaud and Pierre Etaix, both formerly big stars of the French cinema. The film is also very humorous although the jokes are so laid back and straight-faced it is easy to miss them. I can't recommend this film enough.

Le Havre

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