Show This Week

October 20, 2018

1298.) Continuing my series of episodes devoted to the “lost” films (read: no U.S. distribution) of Finnish Funhouse favorite Aki Kaurismaki, this week I discuss and show scenes from one of his best-ever works, Drifting Clouds (1996). True to Kaurismaki’s style, it’s a low-key character study, filled to the brim with deadpan humor and a touching humanism, as well as a community of characters who smoke, drink, and listen to rock ’n’ roll. The film, which Kaurismaki said in a book-length interview is “about unemployment,” follows a maitre d’ (Kati Outinen) and her husband (Kari Väänänen) who lose their jobs at the same time and must find a road to new employment. The solution is a beautiful third act that is among the most touching passages in any of Aki’s works. Of all the films I’m showing in this quartet of episodes, “Drifting Clouds” was our biggest loss in the U.S. (It has played only in festivals of Kaurismaki and Finnish filmmakers’ work.)