The film follows a man who arrives in Helsinki and gets beaten up so severely he develops amnesia. He starts his life from scratch, living in container dwellings, finding clothes with help from the Salvation Army and making friends with the poor.
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At this point Kaurismäki has already really found his style. The camera work is awesome. Story is told with simple shots and with simple dialog. The acting isn't stiff, it's pensive. The characters say only what they want to say but nothing more, yet they'd have more to say if someone would just ask. And yes, it is very stereotypical Finnish, but don't be fooled. Finns are becoming more talkative as time passes by.
+ Kicked off Friday evening with a Finnish plate of alternative phenomena (Lau Nau & Pekko Käppi, Shogun Kunitoki and Ahti & Ahti) and rounded Sat afternoon to this few-worded quirky Ostrobothnian despatch, wondering if in Finland they've got anything akin to Japan's jazu-kissa, those joints jam-packed with records to just sit, drink & listen to blasting music. Suomi laconic temperament could easily accommodate that.
I found it charming to a fault, because Kaurismaki wallows too much in these characters' (and implicitly a portion of Finland's) abject conditions to make a fully convincing portrait. I found his social commentary frankly jaundiced and no more sensitive, interesting or incisive than the usual lower-middle class rants about politics and the government one hears on populist TV-shows.