Aki Kaurismaki's 'Fallen Leaves' wins the heart of Cannes and Jury Prize

Aki Kaurismaki's new film Fallen Leaves is a comedy in a world he feels has very little left of humanity. He wastes no time to not give his opinion about other filmmakers or even his own films that he never sees -- all except Chaplin who he says is the best due to his simplicity. That sums up the Finnish director whose simple responses to questions about the world, other filmmakers and his own work is deadpan humor of the highest order. And in subtle ways he explains aspects of his provocative fimmaking, such as that he is was not able to choose the music he likes -  Screamin' Jay Hawkins - because 'the Yankees want too many pennies". A simple revelation like this says a lot about the huge stretch between his work and commercial films that are funded without a thought to expense. 

In Fallen Leaves, Alma Poysti plays Ansa, a middle aged supermarket clerk who "risks falling in love no matter how old she gets". She meets a construction worker named Holappa (Jussi Vatanen) and there is a cute dog which Aki nominates to win the Palme Dog at this festival. They go on a date and see Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive. Kaurismaki said it made Jarmusch cry. Screen Daily critics gave Fallen Leaves the highest points on day 8.  
The film takes on the war against Ukraine by Putin moreover Finland's proximity to Russia. Finland recently joined NATO in April and Kaurismaki would have voted against it. Since Finland is on the border with Russia the threat is real. Such a real event is something he hopes will serve as memory to future generations. 
Aki Kaurismaki is a beloved filmmaker with short explanations to questions that have nothing to do with his artistry. In a pageant with so much sophistication he stands far above the artifice and the glamour that takes many captive at Cannes.  He has dismissed the notion that this is his final film and is planning a slapstick comedy.

Although Fallen Leaves was rated high by critics it did not win the Palme d'Or or Palm Dog but won the Jury Prize - the heart of the jury.

© 2023 - Moira Jean Sullivan- Air Date: 0527/23
Movie Magazine International