Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: Kauas Pilvet Karkaavat
Finland, 1996. Sputnik. Screenplay by Aki Kaurismaki. Cinematography by Timo Salminen. Produced by Aki Kaurismaki. Music by Shelley Fisher. Production Design by Markku Peltola, Jukka Salmi. Costume Design by Tuula Hilkamo. Film Editing by Aki Kaurismaki. Cannes Film Festival 1996. Toronto International Film Festival 1996.
Kati Outinen and Kari Väänänen play a couple whose luck never seems to be very good; at the same time that he loses his job as a tram driver, the restaurant where she is head waiter closes due to outstanding debts and puts them both out of work. They attempt over and over again to find employment but are constantly thwarted by life’s unavoidably niggling details. Told in the charming deadpan style that Kaurismaki does so well, a combination of cold expressions amid warmly lit images, this one is never a tragedy begging for social justice importance. The characters are as much the architects of their fate as they are victims, their eventual outcome the result of as much luck and ingenuity as their failings had been before that. Minor and melancholy but still impressive, with such great work by the actors and confident direction by the master filmmaker.