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The Man Without a Past

International poster
Directed by Aki Kaurismäki
Produced by Aki Kaurismäki
Written by Aki Kaurismäki
Starring Markku Peltola
Kati Outinen
Juhani Niemelä
Music by Leevi Madetoja
Cinematography Timo Salminen
Editing by Timo Linnasalo
Release date(s) Finland:
1 March 2002
United Kingdom:
24 January 2003
United States:
4 April 2003
19 June 2003
Running time 97 minutes
Country Finland
Language Finnish
Gross revenue $9,564,237

The Man Without a Past (Finnish: Mies vailla menneisyyttä) is a 2002 Finnish comedy-drama film directed by Aki Kaurismäki and starring Markku Peltola, Kati Outinen and Juhani Niemelä. It is the second installment in Kaurismäki's Finland trilogy, the other two films being Drifting Clouds and Lights in the Dusk. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2002 and won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival[1].



The film begins with an unnamed man arriving by train to Helsinki. After falling asleep in a park, he is mugged and beaten by hoodlums and is severely injured in the head, losing consciousness. He awakes and wanders back to the train station and collapses in its bathroom. He awakes the second time in a hospital and finds that he has lost his memory. He starts his life from scratch, living in container dwellings, finding clothes with help from the Salvation Army and making friends with the poor.



The Man Without a Past was co-produced by the Finnish companies Sputnik and YLE, the German companies Bavaria Film Studios and Pandora Filmproduktion and the French company Pyramide Productions.

Critical reception

The film has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics. As of February 5, 2008, Rotten Tomatoes aggregate review website has registered a rating of 98%[2] while Metacritic, as of the same date, registered a rating of 84%[3] which, according to the website's rating criteria, classifies the reception of the film as Universal acclaim. Film critic Roger Ebert awarded the film 3½ stars out of 4 claiming he "felt a deep but indefinable contentment"[4] while Kirk Honeycutt of the The Hollywood Reporter opined that the film "contains not one false note. It is the work of an artist fully in control of his art."[5]

Awards and nominations


  1. ^ Fauth, Jurgen. [1], Accessed February 5, 2008.
  2. ^ The Man Without a Past at Rotten Tomatoes. Accessed February 5, 2008.
  3. ^ The Man Without a Past at Metacritic. Accessed February 5, 2008.
  4. ^ Ebert, Roger. The Man Without a Past, Chicago Sun-Times, June 27, 2003. Accessed February 5, 2008.
  5. ^ Honeycutt, Kirk. The Man Without A Past (Finland), The Hollywood Reporter, January 1, 2005. Accessed February 5, 2008.
  6. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Man Without a Past". Retrieved 2009-10-25. 

External links

Preceded by
The Piano Teacher
Grand Prix, Cannes
Succeeded by

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