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‘Fallen leaves’

I steamed this 2023 Finnish film, which is by Aki Kaurismaki, who is apparently a noted filmmaker, though he’s unsurprisingly unknown to me.

I was attracted to it in part by its very manageable 80-minute running time. It turned out to be a beautifully made, understated and gentle romantic comedy. To me, it seemed tonally similar to a Charlie Chaplin film: think meaningful glances and swelling strings (the varied soundtrack is a highlight). But it is set in present-day Helsinki.

Throughout the film, we hear radio news reports regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which made me reflect on how different that horrific war must feel in a nation on Russia’s border.

A gentle film it might be, but it doesn’t shy away from difficult subject matter: alcohol addiction, exploitative zero-hours contracts, and chronic loneliness are all major themes. It’s also genuinely funny: I laughed out loud while sitting alone.

Fallen Leaves was understated, warm, and full of heart. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

This post was filed under: Film, .

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