Fallen Leaves (2023)

Fallen Leaves (2023)

This delightfully deadpan romcom marks the comeback of beloved Finnish auteur Aki Kaurismäki

The Very Best



Finland, Germany
Arabic, Finnish
Comedy, Drama, Romance
Alina Tomnikov, Alma Pöysti, Eero Ritala
81 min


Even the most pessimistic of unbelievers will have a hard time suppressing a smile at this one.

What it's about

Amid exploitive work and an encroaching war, two lonely Finns find solace in each other’s comforting, albeit elusive, company.

The take

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. 

What stands out

The colors, such beautiful vibrant retro colors. Each frame is an Edward Hooper painting, bright reds against faded blues, shocking oranges against dull greens. You could spend hours staring at a single shot and still find new things to like about it. There are anachronistic appliances, old film posters, and vintage typefaces scattered throughout the film, all in brilliant technicolor too of course. So I’d say the colors, but Dog the dog is a strong second. 


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