Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
Original title: Mies Vailla Menneisyytta
Finland/Germany/France, 2002. Bavaria Film, Pyramide Productions, Pandora Filmproduktion, Sputnik, Yleisradio. Screenplay by Aki Kaurismaki. Cinematography by Timo Salminen. Produced by Aki Kaurismaki. Production Design by Markku Pätilä. Costume Design by Outi Harjupatana. Film Editing by Timo Linnasalo.
A metal worker arrives in Helsinki and gets beaten and mugged on his first night in the city. He awakens bandaged and disoriented in a hospital room, without a shred of identification and no memory of who he is or what has happened to him. Released from the hospital’s care, he finds himself wandering a barren, industrial landscape until he moves into a makeshift home and makes new friends. Romance springs up in his friendship with an outwardly tough but inwardly sweet Salvatian Army soldier (Kati Outinen) who helps him get back on his feet. Aki Kaurismaki’s most awarded film to date has a unique rhythm and distinct visual style, and most rewardingly features a warm hearted finale after its very distilled storyline has run its course. Offbeat and original, it will have limited audience appeal but will definitely be appreciated by those who give it a try.
Academy Award Nomination: Best Foreign Language Film
Cannes Film Festival Awards: Grand Jury Prize; Best Actress (Kati Outinen)
European Film Award Nominations: Best European Film; Best European Actor (Markku Peltola); Best European Actress (Kati Outinen); Best European Director (Aki Kaurismaki); Best European Screenwriter; Best European Cinematographer
Toronto International Film Festival: 2002