Film, Comedy

Time Out says

Based on a much-filmed Finnish novel from 1911: a farmer's wife is seduced into running away from her stolid, older husband Juha by a city slicker, who enslaves her in a brothel. This plot is an ideal vehicle for Kaurismäki's riotous miserabilism - dour characters in dire situations - but for once the glum Finn goes beyond one-note comedy. He shoots it as a neo-silent movie and turns it into a sophisticated reflection on the evolution of silent cinema, from its heavily intertitled, melodramatic beginnings to the rarely equalled visual expressiveness of its maturity. (The soundtrack similarly evolves from a musical base, gradually adding sound effects and then a fragment of sync-sound as a woman sings.) The result curiously resembles parts of Twin Peaks, but it plays as an oblique indictment of the mediocrity of most modern cinema.


Release details

78 mins

Cast and crew

Aki Kaurismäki
Aki Kaurismäki
Esko Nikkari
Sakari Kuosmanen
André Wilms
Kati Outinen