The Match Factory Girl
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Time Out saysThis final part of Kaurismäki's 'Working Class Trilogy' (which began with Shadows in Paradise and Ariel), has an affecting, fable-like simplicity. The tone is set by striking, almost abstract shots of the factory where shy, unattractive Iris (Outinen) sits checking matchbox labels on a production line. After handing over her hard-earned wages to her selfish mother and stepfather, Iris whiles away her spare time in a coffee bar, or waiting in vain to be asked to dance at the local disco. Her one attempt to break out - buying a pink dress, meeting a rich man, spending the night with him - inevitably ends in pregnancy and humiliation. Cheques, not feelings, are the currency of emotional exchange, left on bedside tables or sent with cursory notes saying 'Get rid of it'. Finally pushed over the edge, Iris plots a calm, methodical revenge on those who have poisoned her dreams. Despite the Bressonian overtones, the film has more in common with the radical proletarian pessimism of Fassbinder. Influences notwithstanding, Kaurismäki remains one of a kind.