Drifting Clouds

Director: Aki Kaurismaki

Life is short and miserable. Let’s make the most of it, says one of the characters in Drifting Clouds, a remark that could almost be Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki’s manifesto. This deadpan comedy (of sorts) about a couple hit by unemployment, sums up this odd and distinctive mix of dark melancholy and joie de vivre.
The two main characters both lose their jobs in Finland’s economic recession. Their situation seems hopeless until the sudden chance to launch a restaurant of their own offers a light at the end of the tunnel.
The acting and the directing remain absolutely minimalist, but the downbeat story and grungy settings are offset by Kaurismaki’s use of bright, bold colours, his unfailing eye for arresting visual compositions and the presence of a horde of likeable supporting characters. The director’s indulgent attention to the quirks of human behaviour and the final note of optimism make this a warm and endearing movie.

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