Lights in the Dusk

  • Film
  • Drama
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The predictably rewarding final instalment of Aki Kaurismäki’s ‘Loser Trilogy’ follows its predecessors’ themes of unemployment (‘Drifting Clouds’) and homelessness (‘The Man Without a Past’) with that of loneliness. Shy nightwatchman Koistinen (Janne Hyytiäinen) is virtually ostracised by his fellow security guards and lives alone in a modest apartment… until he meets blonde-bombshell-of-his-dreams Mirja (Maria Järvenhelmi), who seems to respond to his slightly old-fashioned, even gentlemanly manner. Sadly, however, Koistinen’s sense of honour is no longer the norm in a world brutishly devoted to the advancement of social standing, political power and material wealth…

Kaurismäki’s delightfully delicate cautionary fable charts his unassuming hero’s descent into an unforeseen nightmare of deceit and violence with a characteristically low-key blend of humane compassion and deadpan mordant humour. The distinctively bitter-sweet tone is deftly maintained not only by the pleasingly laconic performances but by cinematographer Timo Salminen’s superb evocation of nocturnal Helsinki; there’s also a beautifully judged music track that juxtaposes Puccini with the tangos of both Carlos (‘Volver’) Gardel and Finland’s Olavi Virta. The film may not offer the exquisite formal perfection and comic genius of ‘Take Care of Your Scarf, Tatjana’, and churlish critics might justifiably insist that it offers no significant advance on its two predecessors. That said, it’s a very poignant reminder of the bleak lot of the emotional ‘have-nots’ in our world. A dark jewel of a movie, it glows with warmth and, finally, a small but enriching glimmer of hope.

Release details

Rated: PG
Release date: Friday April 6 2007
Duration: 80 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Aki Kaurismäki
Screenwriter: Aki Kaurismäki
Cast: Janne Hyytiäinen
Maria Heiskanen
Maria Järvenhelmi
Ilkka Koivula
Sergei Doudko
Andrei Gennadiev
Arturas Pozdniakovas
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