Le Havre

January 15, 2012 No Comments

Life is hard.  Life sometimes feels bleak.  Life throws challenges like hand grenades when we least expect it.   Love and courage maintain a presence which gives color, flavor and meaning to the uncertainty and sadness which can dominate living.  Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki (The Man with no Past), the master of quirky, deadpan films deftly weaves these elements in the engaging new film “Le Havre.”  His protagonists are simple–an aging  French shoeshine man, his ill wife and a young illegal refuge from Africa–but their challenges feel profound and familiar.   The film never feels preachy(despite tackling thorny political issues) as it unfolds the lives of Marcel, Arlettty and Idrissa.  Kaurismaki is a visual master, whose attention to detail and color provide as much information as the dialogue.  The music is  mainly diegetic (including the very cool rock concert by Little Bob, an aging French rocker),and guides our journey.    He does not rush his story, nor jazz it up with gratuitous events.  His trust in the audience to engage in the story parallels the unapologetic theme of trust so prevalent  throughout the film– people are basically good and choose  to do what is right because that is what people do.   Sometimes  big miracles  happen, although his biggest miracle  is  the quiet fulfillment people attain in the smallest happenings of everyday life.   I left the film with a feeling of contentment and a smile.  In fact, I find myself smiling again as I write this review.

Le Havre was screened this weekend at the DFT and fortunately is back next weekend, on Friday and Saturday at 9:30 and Sunday at 4:30….It really is a MUST SEE…..Enjoy the smile…….Jolyn Wagner

Must See Movie of the Week

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