3 Best Movies by Olli Varja On Mubi India

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Simple but lovely movies like Fallen Leaves are hard to come by these days. While others rely on complicated dialogue or overly ambitious premises to be deemed deep or important, Director Aki Kaurismäki trusts that his material is strong enough. After all, its silence speaks volumes; the characters don’t say much but when they do, you can be sure it’s something hard-hitting or funny. The plot doesn’t contain a lot of surprises, but when it makes a turn, it moves you instantly. And the leads, Ansa (Alma Pöysti) and Holappa (Jussi Vatanen) barely move their features, but their eyes convey more emotion, more longing and ache and joy, than one can hope for. Some movies can be challenging, exhilarating, or exhausting to watch. This one is simply delightful. 

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Actor: Alina Tomnikov, Alma Pöysti, Anna Karjalainen, Eero Ritala, Erkki Astala, Evi Salmelin, Janne Hyytiäinen, Juho Kuosmanen, Jussi Vatanen, Lauri Untamo, Maria Heiskanen, Martti Suosalo, Matti Onnismaa, Misha Jaari, Nuppu Koivu, Olli Varja, Sakari Kuosmanen, Sherwan Haji, Simon Al-Bazoon

Director: Aki Kaurismäki

Rating: NR

The magic of this movie — and every other one directed by Aki Kaurismäki — is in the way it inspires so much hope despite the darkness of its subject. When a man (Markku Peltola) is beaten and robbed one night, he wakes up without any memory of who he is. Forced to start life all over again, he’s subjected to yet more cruelty at the hands of a greedy slum landlord and callous authorities, but finds sympathy and support from his equally downtrodden neighbors. Though the street thugs have emptied his wallet, the unquestioning generosity of the people around him suggests he’s now richer than he was at the film’s outset — as does the sweetly simple romance he strikes up with a lonely Salvation Army worker (Kati Outinen). 

Kaurismäki doesn’t just make films about the disenfranchised for the sake of it: he shows us how easy — and yet momentous — acts of human kindness and solidarity can be, how radical they are in a bleak world. It’s not often a movie can so persuasively reassure us of people’s inherent goodness, but it’s even rarer still for it to be done with as much deceptive, charming simplicity as here.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Actor: Aarre Karén, Aino Seppo, Andrey Chernyshov, Anneli Sauli, Antti Reini, Elina Salo, Esko Nikkari, Janne Hyytiäinen, Juhani Niemelä, Kaija Pakarinen, Kati Outinen, Liisa Mustonen, Markku Peltola, Olli Varja, Outi Mäenpää, Panu Vauhkonen, Pentti Auer, Pertti Sveholm, Sakari Kuosmanen, Silu Seppälä, Sulevi Peltola, Vesa Mäkelä

Director: Aki Kaurismäki

Grand gestures, over-the-top declarations of love, and elaborate gifts… These normal romcom acts can sometimes make it seem that romance can only be done by the wealthy. But, in reality, love can happen anytime, and the first film of Aki Kaurismäki’s Proletariat Trilogy suggests that love is ultimately necessary in a world where two lovers are disenfranchised. As Nikander tries to woo a slightly disinterested Ilona, and as Ilona decides to depend on him for support, Shadows in Paradise might not have the usual frills of a romcom, but Kaurismäki finds the bare essentials in a depressing Finnish town, and captures the small ways it blooms in spite of it, through the lovers’ humorous blunt dialogue and the color their love adds to their world.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Actor: Aki Kaurismäki, Esko Nikkari, Haije Alanoja, Jaakko Talaskivi, Jukka Mäkinen, Jukka-Pekka Palo, Kati Outinen, Kylli Köngäs, Mari Rantasila, Mato Valtonen, Matti Pellonpää, Neka Haapanen, Olli Varja, Pekka Laiho, Safka Pekkonen, Sakari Kuosmanen, Sakke Järvenpää, Svante Korkiakoski

Director: Aki Kaurismäki