Hailed as the best-reviewed film of the 2023 Cannes Film Festival - where it topped Screen International’s prestigious critics’ poll - the beguiling new comedic romance from celebrated auteur Aki Kaurismäki ('Le Havre', 'Drifting Clouds', 'The Other Side Of Hope') follows two lost souls who meet by chance in the Helsinki night and then try, in turbulent times, to find companionship.
Ansa (Alma Pöysti) works at a supermarket, where the job is so badly paid that she takes home expired sandwiches for dinner. Holappa (Jussi Vatanen) is a metalworker, labouring in a job so hazardous he’s sure it will kill him, so he drinks through the day, and then again at night. Meanwhile, the radio constantly carries news about the nearby war in Ukraine.
One evening, against his will, Holappa is dragged to a karaoke bar by a friend. “Tough guys don’t sing”, he says. But karaoke night is also a night for romance, and when Holappa meets the shy Ansa, there’s an immediate spark. But life being what it is, a variety of obstacles conspire to get in the way…
With his trademark deadpan humour, minimalist dialogue and retro aesthetic, Kaurismäki's latest delight showcases his unrivalled mastery for depicting down-on-their-luck characters in all their complexity, and finding humour and optimism in the unlikeliest of circumstances. In a time of economic disparity, war and uncertainty, FALLEN LEAVES is a valuable reminder of the importance of love and connection; once again Finland’s most-beloved director has delivered, in spades.
"★★★★★ A gem." - Chris Read, LIMELIGHT
"The year's most succinctly perfect film." - Carlos Aguilar, LOS ANGELES TIMES
"Delightful. A tender, beautifully directed love story." - Manohla Dargis, THE NEW YORK TIMES
★★★★★ - Associated Press
★★★★★ - The Arts Desk
★★★★ "Beguiling and delightful. I found myself rooting for the hero and heroine here in an uncomplicated way - there is a heart-melting connection between these two lonely people. A film with a big heart - it fills you with a feelgood glow." - The Guardian