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Lights in the Dusk ( Ljus i skymningen ) ( Laitakaupungin valot ) [ English subtitles ] [DVD]

Janne Hyytiäinen , Maria Järvenhelmi , Aki Kaurismäki    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £13.98
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Lights in the Dusk ( Ljus i skymningen )  ( Laitakaupungin valot ) [ English subtitles ] [DVD] + The Man Without A Past [DVD] [2002] + Le Havre [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Janne Hyytiäinen, Maria Järvenhelmi, Maria Heiskanen, Ilkka Koivula, Sergei Doudko
  • Directors: Aki Kaurismäki
  • Writers: Aki Kaurismäki
  • Producers: Aki Kaurismäki
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
  • Subtitles: English, Finnish
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Sandrew Metronome
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Oct 2006
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000VWUHYG
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 238,042 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Finland released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: Danish ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), Finnish ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), Norwegian ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), Swedish ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), English ( Subtitles ), Finnish ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (1.85:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, SYNOPSIS: A night watchman is conned by criminals as they exploit his longing for love as a means to carry out a robbery, leaving him to face the consequences. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: Cannes Film Festival, European Film Awards, ...Lights in the Dusk ( Ljus i skymningen ) ( Laitakaupungin valot )

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Kaurismaki 10 Aug 2008
Format:DVD
Lights in the Dusk may not be among Aki Kaurismaki's very best films, but is a good addition to his oeuvre. The movie is about Koistinen, a thirty-something security guard who is portrayed as the definition of a loser. He falls quickly for a blonde from the mob, even though he almost certainly knows from the start that this is a setup. The blonde gets his security codes, so the gangsters she is associated with can steal a jewelry at the department stores he guards. The running gag of the movie is that Koistinen is so lonely and hungry for personal companionship that the blonde has almost nothing to do to get his confidence: no sex, no kisses, and after he is caught, he refuses to name her to the police. Meanwhile, he rejects the only woman in the world that seems to care for him: a plain, if kind, hot dog vendor. The movie chronicles the sad fall of this man, even though at the very end a ray of hope (improbably) emerges. The problem with the movie is that Kaurismaki's has become too mannerist a filmmaker: the film is full of his usual quirks; for example, Koistinen and the two women he is involved with never made eye contact, as the actors are told to made a blank stare when they talk to each other. As usual in Kaurismaki's films, the music is great: the movie starts and ends with two tangos by the great Carlos Gardel: Volver and El Dia Que me Quieras. In between, there are a number of good Finnish tangos and classic opera songs. Kaurismaki regular Kati Outinen appears in a cameo as a supermarket vendor (if I'm not mistaken, that was the role she played in her first Kaurismaki movie: Shadows in Paradise).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stylish but unbelievable 15 Feb 2013
By Runmentionable TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
This refreshingly short (74 minutes) account of a hopeless Helsinki security guard whose already-rubbish life is ruined when gangsters set him up as the patsy in a jewel store heist is long on distinctive style but undone by a lack of credibility.

The first half - up to the robbery - is highly engaging, an interesting combination of Jarmusch deadpan and Fassbinder lowlife, but a tad more realistic than the former and less overheated than the latter. The acting is superb throughout, the soundtrack (old Finnish tango songs, apparently - who'd'a thunk it?) is unusual and appealing, and the cinematography (with occasional hints of Hitchcock and Edward Hopper) is superb. The humour in the first half is so dry it's virtually dessicated, but it's there, and it's effective.

Unfortunately, the behaviour of the central character after his arrest lacks crediblity and the film unravels in the second half. He's too passive, and too stupid, to be believable. Other reviewers feel he's supposed to symbolise detachment from society like Camus's Meursault, but we see Meursault from the inside, thanks to first-person narration, and we get to understand him. We only see this guy from the outside, and he just comes across as an eejit. Consequently, subsequent events are barely plausible, and the power and the purpose of the film is drastically compromised as a result. That's a real shame, as with just a touch more plausibility it could have been a very strong film indeed.

If you see this cropping up on Film 4, as it does from time to time, it's well worth watching or recording, but there are better uses for your hard-earned coinage than this DVD.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Concluding Entry of Kaurismaki's "Loser Trilogy" 30 Aug 2007
By Tsuyoshi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
"Lights in the Dusk" ("Laitakaupungin valot"), the final entry in Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki's "loser trilogy" (after "Drifting Clouds" and "The Man without a Past") is, in a nutshell, about one of the loneliest men in the movie history. The film may not be as impressive as other two installments (partly because of the absence of his muse Kati Outinen who shows up as cameo here), but Kaurismaki's quaint minimalist narrative style and his life-affirming attitude is unmistakable in his newest film with an undertone of old Hollywood noir and one Charles Chaplin film which has a similar title.

Kostinen (Janne Hyytiäinen) is a middle-aged night watch man at a shopping center in Helsinki. Silent and aloof, he is not a happy man, disliked, and perhaps mistreated, by his superiors and co-workers. Well, but Kostinen, whose loneliness reminds us of the characters in Dostoyevsky novels, anyway dislikes them too. The only time he shows his emotions after routine work is a brief moment when he drops in a kiosk and chats with the lady named Aila (Maria Heiskanen) there. His lonely life seems never to change forever until one day he is suddenly approached by a woman named Mirja (Maria Järvenhelmi) in a café, who asks him for a date and is eager to know things about his jobs as security guard.

There is nothing surprising about this "femme fatale" and the mobsters in black suit behind her. You already know the true motive of the woman, whose appearance virtually causes the subsequent downward spiral of Kostinen's fate. There is someone who is offering a help though, and that person is there just one step away from him, but Kostinen is the last person to realize that.

The brief plot summery might lead you to think that "Lights in the Duck" is a depressing tragedy, but the simple fact is Kaurismaki's film is a well-made serio-comic film with minimalist storytelling and wry humor. No other director would create a femme fatale with a very impassive (and curiously droll) face trying to seduce this guy having a lunch, or quietly vacuuming the mobsters' room.

Even by the standard of Kaurismaki, however, Kostinen as the protagonist is distant, harder to relate than those in "Drifting Clouds" and "The Man without a Past." We feel sympathy for him, but unlike the hapless protagonists in the two previous films of the trilogy, some of Kostinen's actions are results of his choice, which is not fully explained by acting. Sometimes facial expressions of the characters or actors in Kaurismaki films are described as "dead-pan," but the fact is that they show subtle nuances according to the scenes. Kati Outinen and Markku Peltola did show that subtlety in "The Man without a Past" which I couldn't find much in the relations between Kostinen and other ladies.

Still "Lights in the Dusk" is a fitting entry to conclude the trilogy with Kaurismaki's inimitable touch and beautiful photography by Timo Salminen. Loneliness is often seen as the theme of film, but loneliness, but it is seldom expressed in this explicit way, especially when it is accompanied by unexpected hope.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The conclusion of Kaurismäki's "Losers" trilogy is far bleaker than the preceding films 27 Dec 2011
By Christopher Culver - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Released in 2006, Aki Kaurismäki's film LAITAKAUPUNGIN VALOT (released internationally as Lights in the Dusk), completes a loose trilogy of films that deal with underdogs, employ similar colour palettes and are set in a strange fantasy Finland where the social divisions and rock music of the 1950s have persisted into the present day.

The film is concerned with the sufferings of Koistinen (Janne Hyytiäinen), a security guard who is not just neglected by his coworkers and society, but eventually set up by femme fatale Mirja (Maria Järvenhelmi) for a jewelry heist. Prominent supporting roles are Lindholm (Ilkka Koivula), the mastermind of the criminal operation, and Aila (Maria Heiskanen), a hot dog vendor who seems to be Koistinen's only contact with the world, though "friend" would be too strong a word.

The previous two entries in Kaurismäki's "Losers" trilogy -- (Driftng Clouds) and MIES VAILLA MENNEISYTTÄ (The Man Without a Past), had their characters knocked about, but ultimately they pulled through and found happiness. LAITAKAUPUNGIN VALOT is a much bleaker film. The cruelty directed at Koistinen is more brutal and the ending, while hinting at something positive, is ambiguous and painful to watch.

Kaurismäki has really come to repeat himself, maintaining not just the same atmosphere from film to film, but even reusing stock scenes like a man being beaten and left for dead at the docks, prison labour and awkward dates. Nonetheless, here offers something new in crossing that thin line from deadpan humour to outright tragedy. Kaurismäki has always maintained an austere tone, but here he pares things down even further. This is a flawed film, but one with many admirable features and I'd generally recommend that one see it, though perhaps after the earlier two films in this trilogy.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars strange but compelling film 7 Sep 2008
By Roland E. Zwick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
***1/2

Clocking in at a pithy one-hour-and-fourteen minutes, "Lights in the Dusk" is an existentialist Finnish comedy in which a mild-mannered night watchman, who seems to be living in a world of his own, becomes an unwitting patsy in a jewelry-store robbery when he opens up to a woman who has seemingly taken a romantic interest in him.

As the much put-upon working man who allows a femme fatale to trick him into doing her dirty work for her, Janne Hyytiaien gives a marvelously deadpanned performance that perfectly reflects the spare, archly humorous world director Aki Kaurismaki has created for the film. With a tone of cool detachment, the script rarely lets us into the mind of this strangely uncommunicative and inscrutable young man, whose emotions and thoughts are always buried somewhere deep beneath an expressionless surface. Yet, somehow, despite his reticence, he still manages to pique our interest and engage our sympathy, primarily because his predicament and his lack of a conventional reaction to it are both so comically unsettling. We find ourselves identifying and rooting for him even though we don't really get to know all that much about him. In a way, he reminds us a bit of Meursault from Camus` "The Stranger," a man so emotionally detached from the world around him that his actions aren't always explicable to those of us who are residing in the "real world" watching him perform them.

Though it is a difficult film to pigeonhole, "Lights in the Dusk" is a modest, unassuming work that touches both the heart and the funny bone in roughly equal measure.
4.0 out of 5 stars Last Tango in Finland 28 Sep 2007
By Andres C. Salama - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Lights in the Dusk is not among Aki Kaurismaki's very best films, but is a good addition to his work. The movie is about Koistinen, a thirty-something security guard who is portrayed as the definition of a loser. He falls quickly for a blonde from the mob, even though he almost certainly knows from the start that this is a setup. The blonde gets his security codes, so the gangsters she is associated with can steal a jewelry at the department stores he guards. The running gag of the movie is that Koistinen is so lonely and hungry for personal companionship that the blonde has almost nothing to do to get his confidence: no sex, no kisses, and after he is caught, he refuses to name her to the police. Meanwhile, he rejects the only woman in the world that seems to care for him: a plain if kind hot dog vendor. The movie chronicles the sad fall of this man, even though at the very end a ray of hope (improbably) emerges. The problem with the movie is that Kaurismaki's has become too mannerist a filmmaker: the film is full of his usual quirks; for example, Koistinen and the two women he is involved with never made eye contact, as the actors are told to made a blank stare when they talk to each other. As usual in Kaurismaki's films, the music is great: the movie starts and ends with two tangos by the great Carlos Gardel: Volver and El Dia que me Quieras. In between, there are a number of good Finnish tangos and classic opera songs.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Fave By Aki K 24 Nov 2011
By Virgina Pickens - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Slow, quiet, brooding, and great. Anyone who thinks the noir film is dead needs to see this movie. It's fantastic and horrifying and sexy as heck.
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