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I always think of Finland with sincere admiration, although I don’t know the country at all, with the exception of Helsinki International Airport, where I spent a few boring hours.

I love Finland only thanks to… Aki Kaurismäki, whose films are not only magnificent and unique in their focus and texture, but they are also full of something that cannot be called in any way, except perhaps “Philokalia”.

Film critic and film expert Andrei Plakhov asserts, that Aki Kaurismäki’s ancestors were Russians from Karelia, of the name of Kuzmins, and that his parents met in Vyborg. This is just a comment.

Thanks to Kaurismäki’s films, I imagine Helsinki well as it is the director’s hometown. Most of his movies are set in the capital of Finland. He shows his city with utmost realism, without any romance.

The universe of the filmmaker is inhabited by ordinary, often very kind people: waitresses and saleswomen, garbage collectors and miners, tram and bus drivers, people who curse their work when they have it and curse life when they lose their job.

Kaurismäki’s excellent film “The Man Without a Past” received the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival in 2002 and was the first in the history of Finnish cinema to be nominated for an Oscar in 2003. But Kaurismäki did not go to the ceremony in Los Angeles to protest the war in Iraq. For which I respect him very much.

My favourite films by Kaurismäki make up the director’s proletarian trilogy: “Drifting Clouds”, “The Man Without a Past” and “Lights in the Dusk”.

If you want to fall in love with Finland with all your passion, watch Aki Kaurismäki’s films.

Victor Loupan

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