Close Up

20 January 2019: Shadows in Paradise


Shadows in Paradise
Aki Kaurismäki, 1986, 76 min
Finnish with English subtitles

Shadows in Paradise is a muted, understatedly atmospheric, sublimely realized, and darkly comic romantic fable. Using alternating daytime and night time shots of exterior spaces and dimly lit interiors that obscure temporal reference, Aki Kaurismäki captures the inherent monotony – and often unproductive – perpetual routines that symptomatically define the dead-end, inescapable plight and marginalization of the working class: impersonal public spaces […] that serve as an extension to the characters' alienated existence; recurring episodes of unrealized and aborted plans […] that illustrate a pattern of disappointment and failed attempts at a better life; Ilona's history of job insecurity that mirrors the instability of her relationship with Nikander. Kaurismäki further implements visual incongruity through idiosyncratic, but subtly effective (and thematically contradictory) camerawork in order to reflect the untenability of personal fulfilment" – Acquarello

Part of Antti Alanen and Ehsan Khoshbakht's Masterpieces of Finnish Cinema season