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Aki Kaurismäki
Born Aki Olavi Kaurismäki
4 April 1957 (1957-04-04) (age 52)
Orimattila, Finland
Occupation Film director, producer and screenwriter
Spouse(s) Paula Oinonen

Aki Olavi Kaurismäki (pronounced Fi-Aki_Kaurismäki.ogg [ˈɑki ˈkɑurismæki] ) (born 4 April 1957, Orimattila, Finland) is a Finnish script writer and film director.



After studying Media Studies at University of Helsinki, Aki Kaurismäki started his career as a co-director in the films of his elder brother Mika Kaurismäki. His debut as an independent director was Crime and Punishment (1983), Dostoevsky's famous crime story set in modern-day Helsinki. He gained worldwide notice with his movie Leningrad Cowboys Go America.

His style has been influenced by the French directors Jean-Pierre Melville and Robert Bresson, as he relies on low-key acting and simple cinematic storytelling to get his message(s) across. Critics have also seen an influence from Rainer Werner Fassbinder but Kaurismäki - a keen film buff himself - has said that he somehow never got around to seeing any Fassbinder movies until quite recently. His movies have a unique downplayed humorous side that can also be seen in the films of Jim Jarmusch, who has a cameo in Kaurismäki's film Leningrad Cowboys Go America. Jarmusch also used frequent Kaurismäki actors in his film Night on Earth, a part of which takes place in Helsinki, Finland.

Much of his work is centred on Helsinki, his native city, particularly Calamari Union which is largely set in the working class neighbourhood of Kallio, and the trilogy that comprises Shadows in Paradise, Ariel, and The Match Factory Girl. His vision of Helsinki is, it should be noted, both critical and singularly unromantic. Indeed, the characters often speak about how they wish to get away from Helsinki: some end up in Mexico (Ariel), others in Estonia (Calamari Union and Take Care of Your Scarf Tatjana). The setting is the 1980s, even in the more recent movies, or there are references to the 70's and 80's era.

Awards and protests

In terms of awards, Kaurismäki's most successful movie has been The Man Without a Past. It won the Grand Prix and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival[1] and was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Language Film category in 2003. However, Kaurismäki refused to attend the gala, noting that he didn't particularly feel like partying in a nation that is currently in a state of war. Kaurismäki's next film Lights in the Dusk was also chosen to be Finland's nominee in the category for best foreign film. Kaurismäki again decided to boycott the Awards and refused the nomination as a protest against U.S. President George W. Bush's foreign policy.

In 2003, in one of his most famous protests, Kaurismäki boycotted the 40th New York Film Festival as a show of solidarity with Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami who was not given a US visa in time for the festival.[2]



Feature films


Short films

  • Rocky VI, 1986 (8 min)
  • Thru the Wire, 1987 (6 min)
  • Rich Little Bitch, 1987 (6 min)
  • L.A. Woman, 1987 (5 min)
  • Those Were The Days, 1991 (5 min)
  • These Boots, 1992 (5 min)
  • Oo aina ihminen, 1995 (5 min)
  • Välittäjä, 1996 (4 min)
  • Dogs Have No Hell, 2002 (10 minute episode in the collaborative film Ten Minutes Older - The Trumpet)
  • Bico, 2004 (5 minute episode in the collaborative film Visions of Europe)
  • The Foundry, 2006 (3 minute episode in the collaborative film To Each His Own Cinema)

See also


  • Roger Connah K/K: A Couple of Finns and Some Donald Ducks: Cinema and Society. VAPK Pub., Helsinki, 1991


External links


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