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Fallen Leaves

Directed by Aki Kaurismäki
Finland, Sweden
81 minutes
Unclassified 15+
Straight from the Cannes Competition, the Finnish master Aki Kaurismäki’s compassionate comedy has two lonely people meet by chance and then try, in turbulent times, to find love.
Ansa (Alma Pöysti) works at an unpleasant supermarket where the job is so badly paid that she takes home expired sandwiches to eat. Holappa (Jussi Vatanen) is a metalworker, labouring each day in a hazardous job that he is sure will kill him. He drinks through the working day, and then drinks again at night. Meanwhile, on the radio there are constant announcements about the Russian attacks on Ukraine, and on the streets, there are posters about climate protests. Against his will, Holappa is dragged to a karaoke night by a friend. “Tough guys don’t sing”, he says. But karaoke night is also a night for romance. There, Holappa meets Ansa and there’s a spark. Lost phone numbers, Holappa’s alcoholism and a variety of obstacles get in their way but still these two remain hopeful. With beautiful performances by Pöysti and Vatanen, Fallen Leaves is a vital and welcome addition to Kaurismäki's working-class trilogy (Shadows in Paradise, Ariel and The Match Factory Girl). Kaurismäki’s mastery at depicting down-on-their-luck characters in all their complexity, and in finding humour in the unlikeliest of situations, remains undiminished here. In this time of war, economic disparity and turmoil, his message is to still look for love.

AKI KAURISMÄKI started out writing screenplays for his director brother Mika including The Worthless (1982) in which he also starred. He soon moved into directing with Crime and Punishment (1983). He was the subject of a SFF Retrospective in 2018. His films include: Hamlet Goes Business (SFF 1990); The Match Factory Girl (SFF 1990); La Vie de Bohème (SFF 1992); Take Care of Your Scarf, Tatiana (SFF 1995); Drifting Clouds (SFF 1997); The Man Without a Past (2002); Le Havre (2011) and The Other Side of Hope (SFF 2017)
Guaranteed to cast a warm glow
Jonathan Romney, Screen International
Wonderful, wryly funny, and poignant.
Pete Hammond, Deadline


Sun 11 Jun
State Theatre
Assisted Listening
Past Event Cancel
Mon 12 Jun
State Theatre
Assisted Listening
Past Event Cancel
Program Strand
Official Competition
Unclassified 15+
Finland, Sweden
In Finnish with English subtitles
Aki Kaurismäki
Misha Jaari, Aki Kaurismäki, Mark Lwoff
Alma Pöysti, Jussi Vatanen
Aki Kaurismäki
Timo Salminen
Samu Heikkilä
Australian Premiere
Cinephile, Comedies, Cannes Selected, Scandinavia
Company Credits
Australian Distributor: Palace Films
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