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9 October 2017: Juha


Aki Kaurismäki
1999 | 78 min | B/W | DCP

“Based on Finnish writer Juhani Aho’s celebrated novel, Kaurismäki’s Juha has the distinction of being the last silent film made this century. Although previous adaptations had been made, Kaurismäki was nevertheless drawn to Aho’s melodramatic tale, which for him was "straight and strong, yet full of detail, just waiting to be ruined by cinematic means." The story revolves around a classic romantic triangle involving the rural bumpkin Juha, his much younger wife Marja, and an urbane stranger who is brought fatefully into their lives when his car breaks down in their village. Deeply influenced by Murnau’s Sunrise, which similarly pits the innocence of rural life against the dangerous allure of the city, Kaurismäki heroically attempts to recapture the power of film before "the easyness of explaining all by words... polluted our storytelling to a pale shadow of original cinema.”” – Harvard Film Archive

Part of our Aki Kaurismäki season