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Le Havre 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars (39) IMDb 7.2/10

In this warmhearted portrait of the French harbor city that gives the film its name, fate throws young African refugee Idrissa (Blondin Miguel) into the path of Marcel Marx (AndrМ© Wilms), a well-spoken bohemian who works as a shoeshiner. With innate optimism and the unwavering support of his community, Marcel stands up to officials doggedly pursuing the boy for deportation. A political fairy ta...

Starring:
André Wilms, Kati Outinen
Runtime:
1 hour, 29 minutes

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This is one of those feel good films that has something for nearly everyone. It is bout Marcel Marx Andre Wilms (`Europa, Europa' -also excellent), who scratches a living doing shoe shines in the port of Le Havre. He has a coterie of friends, mostly poor, and a doting wife Arletty, who is covering up her illness from him.

One day a runaway illegal immigrant or `irregular' as we now say comes to his attention. Whilst the media portray this boy, Idrissa, as a possible terrorist, Marcel sees a frightened lonely child who needs help. Despite being chased by the police, Marcel takes all the risks he can to help him. The boy's mother is in London and that is where he wants to get, but with no money and no clue of how to do so.

What happens next is both life affirming and heart warming, some may say too much so. However I was swept along by this beautifully paced and told story. The acting is all spot on, and I particularly like the lack of pretty actors, this is a proper slice of life and has a very cosmopolitan attitude to modern day France and its attitude to immigration. We even get a sort of charity gig at one point which is where `Little Bob' comes in and he makes `the Stones' look a bit spritely - God bless him.

Directed and written by Aki Kaurismaki this is one of those films that will leave you with a nice war feeling inside and a desire to see more of his films, which are not prolific enough. So if a bit of Gallic spirit and humour all wrapped up in a feel good factor is your thing then you really can not go wrong with this brilliant piece of cinema.
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By KaleHawkwood TOP 100 REVIEWER on 25 Jun. 2012
Format: DVD
The droll Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki hadn`t made a film since Lights In The Dusk in 2006, and frankly I was having severe withdrawal symptoms. His last couple of films were a tad disappointing, so it`s good to be able to say that he is back at his deadpan best with this touching tale of an elderly man, Marcel, and a young refugee African boy, Idrissa, in the northern French port of the title.
This is a somewhat gentler work than some of Kaurismaki`s other films, though it has the same mixture of a kind of bleak compassion and mordantly dispassionate observation of working-class people in all their flawed, random multifariousness - `Lord, what fools these mortals be`, indeed.
The plot is minimal, but the rewards to be had from this film of modest marvels are many, not least the central performances by the imposing Andre Wilms as Marcel, and Blondin Miguel as the boy. In fact, Wilms is both subtle and unselfishly restrained as the rather reluctant father figure. The ways in which his neighbours aid and abet his efforts are unsentimentally heartening, and often humorous.
It`s a lovely film to look at too. It lingers in the memory more like a play might, with its backstreet setting - as well as forays to the harbour - and scenes in various bars and shops, as Marcel tries to keep the authorities from discovering the boy.
If you like - or love as I do - this director`s films, you`ll fall for this return to form. If only more directors had the uncluttered honesty, unforced humour, and lack of self-importance of Kaurismaki.
Oh, and there`s a brief scene involving an investigator and a pineapple that made me laugh out loud.
Welcome back, Aki!
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Format: DVD
Wonderful, evocative, gritty French film about loyalities and neighbourhoods, about bending the rules and happy endings. You can almost smell the cigarette smoke wafting up from the ashtrays, taste the crispy french bread and savour the sharp dry red wine. The characters are solid, realistic and stoical. It will make you question your own attitude to sterotypes and the immigration 'problems' of France and the UK, and will touch you with its honest, heart-warming story. Even viewing in French with subtitles doesn't take away the pleasure of this film. First rate. I can't wait for it to be out on DVD as I plan to watch it again and again.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Le Havre [DVD] I bought this film on the recommendations that I read here on Amazon. What a charming and delightful movie this turned out to be. Full of gentle humour and compassion it showed just how good ordinary people are. There were no car chases, sex scenes, foul language - all of which one tires of in the many inane films turned out these days for supposed entertainment. I will watch the film many times with great enjoyment. If you loved "Kolya" you will enjoy this story too.
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Format: DVD
The central themes of Le Havre are death, illness, loneliness and illegal immigration into Europe. Despite this, it is one of the most optimistic and humorous (a dry, ironic type) films to have come out of Europe over the past few years.

Without giving too much away, it follows a young boy who arrives in Le Havre from Africa in search of a better life in Europe. He comes across an elderly couple there and the film documents the struggle to escape from the police that the child and the couple endure.

Kaurismaki's script is restrained, witty and moving and the performances humane and believable. An excellent film and Kaurismaki's best to date.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Master of black comedy and the absurd, Aki Kaurismäki delivers again. As usual the story is quite improbable, absurd even in its detail, but heart warming in its concept. Kaurismäki does not even speak French yet produces this delightful film in partnership with several outstanding French actors. The police inspector is classic Kaurismäki, with his straight face and sinister appearance. Most Kaurismäki films have an element of loss, despair and tragedy but not this one. Yes, it addresses the refugee issue but only as background, the nasty informer is a role we have all come across but the main players are all a delight. I have just about all of Kaurismäki's films on Finnish DVDs and every one is a gem. This joins the list. Do not hesitate if you enjoy this type of comedy. I loved it.
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