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Fallen Leaves
Kuolleet lehdet
Dead Leaves

Directed by Aki Kaurismäki
Produced by Aki Kaurismäki
Written by Aki Kaurismäki
With: Alma Pöysti, Jussi Vatanen, Alina Tomnikov, Martti Suosalo, Janne Hyytiäinen, Sakari Kuosmanen, Maria Heiskanen, Nuppu Koivu, Sherwan Haji, Eero Ritala, Mikko Mykkänen, Juho Kuosmanen, Sherwan Haji, and Maustetytöt
Cinematography: Timo Salminen
Editing: Samu Heikkilä
Runtime: 81 min
Release Date: 14 September 2023
Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1
Color: Color

The latest from Finnish writer/director Aki Kaurismäki (The Man Without a Past, Le Havre, The Other Side of Hope) is a lightly comedic study in miniature of human connection on the edges of poverty in Helsinki. Alma Pöysti plays Ansa, a supermarket shelf stocker who shoplifts expired food to supplement her meager income. Jussi Vatanen plays Holappa, an alcoholic who can't hold down a job for more than a couple of weeks. After a chance meeting, these two attempt to forge a tentative romance.

The few films of Kaurismäki that I've seen play to me like an odd tonal cross between the radical naturalism of the Dardenne Brothers and the whimsically fabricated pseudo-realism of Mike Leigh. I got more out of Fallen Leaves than some of his others because the use of humor here felt as honest as the depiction of loneliness. The scenes set at Karaoke Night in a local bar and at an arthouse cinema are quirky, as such scenes are usually depicted in movies, but Kaurismäki tangibly captures the sad and even pathetic aspects of those of us who haunt one or both venues. It's all handled sympathetically and with honesty.

Fallen Leaves won the Jury Prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

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Aki Kaurismäki's latest is a lightly comedic study of loneliness and tentative connection in miniature.