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  • Drifting Clouds [ English subtitles ] [DVD]
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Drifting Clouds [ English subtitles ] [DVD]

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  • Actors: Kati Outinen, Kari Väänänen, Elina Salo, Sakari Kuosmanen, Markku Peltola
  • Directors: Aki Kaurismäki
  • Writers: Aki Kaurismäki
  • Producers: Aki Kaurismäki, Eila Werning, Erkki Astala, Fabienne Vonier, Klaus Heydemann
  • Format: PAL, Import, Widescreen
  • Language: Finnish
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Sandrew Metronome
  • DVD Release Date: 14 Mar. 2003
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000E8REGQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 173,402 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Many countries went on with "restructuring" their economies during the 1990s, and Finland seems to have been no exception. This film deals with the human side of the restructuring, namely unemployment. Aki Kaurismaki is undoubtedly a talented filmmaker, but sometimes his films are done in with his mannerisms and his particular obsessions (Finnish tango, classic rock, smoking, old automobiles, working class culture, cinephilia of the 60s variety). In Drifting Clouds, though, he made as perfect a film as he could possibly have. The story is about a working class couple, Lauri and Ilona (Kari Vaananen and Kaurismaki regular Kati Outinen, who is wonderful here). They work as a streetcar driver and a restaurant headwaiter respectively. They seem a happy, if impassive couple, though they barely made ends meet with their jobs. Both find themselves suddenly unemployed, and most of the movie is about trying to find themselves employed again. The situations they went through are often comical, and some people might be bothered with making fun of the very real drama of unemployment (when I saw this film in a movie theater, some people reacted tensely at much of the humor and gags). But I think Kaurismaki's is clearly not poking fun at the two main characters (who are both very noble people) but at the absurdity of the economic system. There's a happy ending that seems slightly incongruent with what we've seen before, but this is overall a wonderful film. The film is dedicated to Matti Pellonpaa, a regular of the first films of Aki Kaurismaki, who died during preproduction of this movie. His photo is shown as the childhood photograph of Ilona and Lauri's deceased son.
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I consider "Drifting Clouds" to be the best film in Kaurismaki's "Finland Trilogy" and the favourite film I've seen by this remarkable director.
It is not quite appropriate to describe Kaurismaki as a specialist in Scandinavian gloom, for many of his films do have a redemptive upbeat ending, as this one does. I find his films directly communicative and heart-warming.
Dialogues are minimal. A gesture suffices to describe the situation. There is distillation of essence without being opaque. Everything has its place and nothing is superfluous.
But it is the visual aspect that is most memorable in this film. The use of strong saturated colours evocatively lit, and the composition and framing of interiors strongly recall Edward Hopper's paintings. The sense of urban alienation resonates throughout the film (and long afterwards). It is a tribute to Hopper's art that its American specificity can be so convincingly translated into a European context, and it is an acknowledgement of the director's imagination that he has totally absorbed Hopper's world and transformed it into his own.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David Welsh on 16 April 2006
The first film in Kaurismäki's "Finland Trilogy" examining the effect of social problems on the lives of ordinary Finns, Drifting Clouds looks at the theme of unemployment. The film is centred on a middle aged couple who both lose their jobs in quick succession and their attempts to cope and get their lives back on track. The film is moving, slowly paced and beautifully executed, with the unmistakable stamp of a film set in Kaurismäki's unique and magical world. It's difficult to describe the world Kaurismäki creates in his films, but it's very recognisable and charming. There's always a very dry, subtle, absurd Finnish humour in the background which makes his films much lighter and more watchable than they might otherwise be.
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