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Caught on the fish-hook of song,
This review is from: Le Havre [DVD] (DVD)
Le Havre is Kaurismaki's modern fairy-story set in Normandy.It's about an elderly shoe-shine man,Marcel Marx,living with his wife,Arletty and dog,he's devoted to her despite poverty,but they are happy and are surrounded by a supportive community.His wife becomes ill and has to go into hospital,but doesn't want him to know the serious nature of the illness.While he's on his own he comes upon a young illegal immigrant boy,Idrissa, who he lets into his house and looks after away from the Port Authorities.He goes to Calais and contacts Idrissa's granddad,who says his son was meant to be taking Idrissa to London to stay with his auntie,but his son died.He passes on a message to his grandson to obey Marcel. It's a little like Kid With A Bike strangely, people want to help the boy, people are good.There's no great drama or shoot-outs(the first scene is more a visual joke) or sex scenes.Kaurismaki is indebted to Tati(simple café scenes,small groups of people conversing,bright colours)or Renoir or Rene Clement.We also get a very dry take off of a police inspector out of Melville.
The Kafka book of nouvelles read out to Arletty in hospital is the story," Children on a Country Road",which depicts a beautiful return to a lost innocence,and the superb image-"When one joins in a song with others it is like being drawn on by a fish-hook."That's it, the miracle of innocence and goodness in human life,the individual against the impersonality of globalisation and society's restrictions,the support of the down-trodden by the small tribes of decent folk,the smaller things that make life worth living.Andre Wilms is marvellous as Marcel,getting charity from friends,bar people and shop-keepers and organising a charity concert by Little Bob(Jean-Pierre Laud) to get the 3000 Euros he needs to get the boy on a boat to London.Of course Kaurismaki shows in 4 takes at the end a miracle: death become life, worthy of Dreyer.Loved Kati Outinen as Arletty and the dog was simply great and the music was topping!