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March 26 @ 7:00 pm


Tidemark Theatre
1220 Shoppers Row
Campbell River, BC V9W 2C8 Canada
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CRFF Fallen Leaves

Aki Kaurismäki’s (Le Havre, The Other Side of Hope, The Man Without a Past) 20th feature in 40 years, Fallen Leaves takes place in a very personalized version of Helsinki, one intimately familiar to longtime admirers of the Finnish director’s hilariously deadpan, fervently humanist tragicomedies. Ansa (Alma Pöysti, Tove) and Holappa (Jussi Vatanen) spend their waking hours in drab workplaces, bars full of stone-faced patrons, and sparsely decorated homes in which a radio is the height of modern technology. Despite the decades that have passed between Kaurismäki’s latest and his Proletariat Trilogy (1986-90) — of which the director considers Fallen Leaves a belated extension — they all seem to take place in the same sad, strange world.

Yet within this space, viewers will find the richness of feeling that’s a hallmark of the director’s recent work. Fallen Leaves is also among his funniest movies, with Kaurismäki taking full advantage of all the sight gags and recurring jokes at his disposal. The material just gets richer as the bond between Ansa and Holappa deepens, their first encounter at a karaoke bar followed by an outing to a screening of Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die (one of many nods to Kaurismäki’s friends and inspirations).

The couple’s chance for happiness feels all the more precious due to the film’s only significant acknowledgement of our present moment: news reports on the war in Ukraine, a source of anxiety in a country that shares a 1,340-kilometre border with Russia. This intrusion of the real adds another layer of poignancy to Kaurismäki’s celebration of the solace we may find in each other, if we’re brave enough to try.

“Fallen Leaves is another of Kaurismäki’s beguiling and delightful cinephile comedies, featuring foot-tapping rock’n’roll. It’s romantic and sweet-natured, in a deadpan style that in no way undermines or ironises the emotions involved and with some sharp things to say about contemporary politics.” -Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian


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Also featuring short film, Stand In: A hopeless romantic, Luke, stands in for his best friend’s arranged marriage with Sofia, a 20-something who doesn’t believe in true love.

Tickets: $15 Admission (+applicable taxes & fees)