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    • drifting clouds

      Aki Kaurismäki




      Drifting Clouds starring: Sakari Kuosmanen, Kati Outinen, Elina Salo, Kari Vaananen
      written by: Aki Kaurismäki
      directed by: Aki Kaurismäki
      produced by: Aki Kaurismäki
      cinematography by: Timo Salminen
      duration: 97 minutes
      type: colour
      certification: PG
      country: Finland/Germany/France
      year: 1996

      An extremely minimalist take on the universal misery that is unemployment, Drifting Clouds manages to discover hope even amongst the despair. Somewhere in Helsinki, Ilona (Kati Outinen) works at the Dubrovnik restaurant. By dint of hard work and fortitude, she has managed to raise herself all the way from dishwasher to headwaiter. Imperious, she is given a free hand to command by the owner of the restaurant, Mrs. Sjoholm (Elina Salo). Unfortunately though, both the clientele and the establishment are old, much diminished from the dizzy heights of the post-war era. Now times are hard and customers spend less, especially when an establishment has fallen behind the cutting edge by failing to modernise.

      Drifting Clouds Ilona's husband Lauri (Kari Väänänen) also serves the public, though in a more quotidian capacity. He drives one of the many trams which rattle through the Helsinki streets, carrying folk to and fro. It seems like a steady job (people always need to commute, yes?), right up until the morning when all of the drivers are summoned together. By the random luck of the cards, Lauri finds himself with a month's notice and a huge weight on his shoulders. So much for the colour TV just bought on hire purchase. Then, as if this body-blow wasn't enough, troubles arise at the Dubrovnik. The bank is foreclosing on Mrs. Sjoholm's loan, with the ominous spectre of The Chain looming in the background, like a hired goon. Things have certainly never looked bleaker for Ilona and Lauri.

      In common with many of Aki Kaurismäki's other films, Drifting Clouds is non-showy, personal and involving. By picking on the phenomenon of unemployment, a recognisable threat to almost everyone, Kaurismäki touches on one of the least filmed global fears. Very few people know how they might react if, say, their livelihood was taken away after 20 years, never to return. In the event, many go into denial, moving on to either a break-down or another job, with some spiralling into an alcoholic gloom. To Kaurismäki's credit, he records several of these end-points with almost documentary directness, while always hinting at his underlying message. This is that you should never give up, no matter how bad life seems; instead try every avenue and remain positive in spite of any setbacks.

      Drifting Clouds The cement which binds Drifting Clouds together are the dual performances of Kati Outinen and Väänänen. They are old-fashioned people, passed by progress and relegated to the scrap heap through no fault of their own. In fact it's not really anybody's fault, instead their loss is an impersonal function of the economic climate. Throughout the film their characters remain flat and deadpan (almost emotionless), a highly effective and appropriate style. It's almost as if they have already talked about everything of interest so all that's left are the little, functional things. It's a curious but very believable state of affairs. There is, however, evidence of a deep bond, be it love or residual affection, such that they are committed to each other. With this link in place they can endure and survive, in contrast to less fortunate folk. In the background there are many supporting roles which orientate the film, such as Lauri's sister (Outi Mäenpäa) and Melartin (Sakari Kuosmanen). All are deserving of praise.

      Drifting Clouds The directorial technique of Kaurismäki within Drifting Clouds is also of some interest, principally for two of his quirks. Firstly, he almost always avoids capturing an actual event, no matter how significant. Instead he concentrates upon the effects and consequences. This significantly affects the balance of the film, indicating that it's not important what happens, but that it's what you do afterwards that counts. Secondly, there are very few cues to indicate that time is passing. Even with those that do occur, it feels almost as though the clock has been halted, which is somewhat analogous to the bubble which Ilona and Lauri have been living in. Only at the end does the pace speed up, right alongside the thawing of the happy couple.

      Drifting Clouds is not exactly a comedy, although there are darkly humorous moments, and not exactly a tragedy, although there are many downbeat aspects to the screenplay. Instead it's more of an examination of life and how to survive misfortune, unscrupulous characters and your own lack of foresight. In this, Kaurismäki succeeds impressively.

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      Aki Kaurismaki considers this urban morality tale to be a mix of Bicycle Thieves and It's a Wonderful Life. Yet the bright colours and ironic soundtrack make it a Helsinki version of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, as waitress Kati Outinen and her ex-tram driver husband Karl Vaananen unite to overcome the humiliations of poverty and menial employment. Minutely observed, perfectly paced and beautifully underplayed by the director's stock company, this is an affectionate portrait of real people surviving slings and arrows with a decency and determination.

      In Finnish with English subtitles.

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      kaurismaki Aki Kaurismäen Suomitrilogian ensimmäinen osa, Kauas pilvet karkaavat, kertoo työttömyydestä. Tarinan päähenkilö Ilona (Kati Outinen) on hovimestarina perinteikkäässä ravintola Dubrovnikissa. Ajat kuitenkin muuttuvat ja ravintola päätyy uusien omistajien käsiin, ja Ilona joutuu työttömäksi. Myös Ilonan mies Lauri (Kari Väänänen) menettää työnsä, ja pariskunnan elämä suistuu raiteiltaan. He eivät kuitenkaan ole valmiita luovuttamaan helpolla, ja jossain vaiheessa aurinkokin alkaa paistaa pilvien raosta...

      Kauas pilvet karkaavat on optimistinen ja lämminhenkinen tarina, joka sekoittaa yhteiskunnallista todellisuutta, romanttista tyylittelyä sekä komediallisia aineksia antaen katsojalle Frank Capramaista uskoa tulevaisuuteen.

    • Alkuperäinen nimi: Kauas Pilvet Karkaavat
    • Vuosi: 1996
    • Ohjaaja: Aki Kaurismäki
    • Pääosissa:
        Kati Outinen, Kari Väänänen, Elina Salo, Sakari Kuosmanen, Markku Peltola, Matti Onnismaa, Matti Pellonpää, Shelley Fisher, Markus Allan, Pauli Granfelt
    • Pituus (min): 93
    • DVD Kuvaformaatti: 16:9 Anamorfinen Widescreen 1.85:1
    • Ääniformaatti: Dolby stereo suomi
    • DVD Tekstitykset: englanti, ruotsi
    • DVD Lisämateriaali: Interaktiivinen valikko * Trailerit
    • Ikäraja: S/T

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      Drifting Clouds

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    • drifting clouds
      aki kaurismäki

      (finnish) official dvd.

      region 2 (europe).

      2003.

    • spoken language: finnish
    • subtitles: english, swedish.
    • classification: pg
    • film running time: 96 mins
    • studio: sandrew metronome

      movie originally release in 1996

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      dvd available: this site (shipped from uk)

    • price: £29.99 (UK Sterling)
      (shipped from uk) (price includes uk & european postage & packaging. outside Europe please e-mail here with country ordering from for postage quote). if you are ordering from us or canada anyway the chances are this european dvd will not play on your Dvd player so it is better to check first

    • payment can also be made to lenin imports by cheque, po, money order, international money order, cash by registered mail. please enclose title of item ordering and return address.

      address:

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        london
        se25 6EP
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