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.