Poster from Mika Kaurismäki’s film from 1987. Being screened tonight.
If you are not yet familiar with amazing Finnish auteurs Kaurismäki – here´s your chance! Tonight at 7pm there will be a one screening only of the 1987 road movie Helsinki-Napoli All Night Long. Director Mika Kaurismäki is the older member of Finlands most creative and important filmmaking team, with the other half being Aki Kaurismäki.
Helsinki-Napoli All Night Long won Mika Kaurismäki the 1988 Jussi Award (the Finnish equivalent of the Oscar) for Best Production and also a State Film Award in Finland. The story:
Helsinki-Napoli All Night Long is a comedy with film noir touches who tells the story about Alex (Kari Vaananen), a Finnish cab driver and his Italian wife, leading a hard life in West Berlin. When Alex finds a suitcase full of money and two dead bodies in his taxi, he tries to dispose of the corpses and grab the money. Unfortunately, he ends up getting chased by the top gangster in west Berlin…
It may sound like the typical gangster movie, but with a Kaurismäki at the helm, it’s never as simple as that. Someone wrote a comment on this particular movie, calling it “noisy, overlong and tackled by the director’s efforts to balance it between different genres. Too unwitty to be a comedy, too bland to be a thriller, too shallow to be a drama, Helsinki-Napoli tries to be all these but unfortunately falls somewhere inbetween.”
Well, yes, it might be easy to misunderstand the Kaurismäki spirit: The typical Kaurismäki movie has a loser as a main character, is set in dull surroundings (although always extremely esthetically photographed) with hardly no dialogue and moves at a slooow pace.
Admission is free. Phone: 6391-2068 ext.600
Where: Culture and Education Section of German Consulate General, 德国驻沪领馆文化教育处; 102A, Cross Tower, 318 Fuzhou Lu near Shandong Zhong Lu, 福州路318号高腾大厦102A室 山东中路
Starts: Saturday July 24, 7PM
But there is an unmistakable charm and humor baked into it, a sort of irony and intelligence that is worked into every single scene. Of course it´s not a comedy, of course it´s not a thriller, of course it´s not a drama – it´s a Kaurismäki. Falling into genres would be too easy, and that´s what makes Kaurismäki interesting. If you haven´t discovered it yet, you’ve got the chance tonight!
Check out what other movies are showing in Shanghai this coming week. Links lead to info about times and venues.
- Better Things: This Duane Hopkins’ debut film features several unknown actors as members of a small town community in the Cotswolds, where a beautiful local teenager has just died of a drugs overdose. A hit at Cannes that year.
- Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: Decepticon forces return to Earth on a mission to take Sam Witwicky prisoner, after the young hero learns the truth about the ancient origins of the Transformers.
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: As Harry Potter begins his 6th year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he discovers an old book marked mysteriously “This book is the property of the Half-Blood Prince” and begins to learn more about Lord Voldemort’s dark past.
- Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs: When Sid’s attempt to adopt three dinosaur eggs gets him abducted by their real mother to an underground lost world, his friends attempt to rescue him.
- Terminator Salvation: Set in post-apocalyptic 2018, John Connor is the man fated to lead the human resistance against Skynet and its army of Terminators. But the future Connor was raised to believe in is altered in part by the appearance of Marcus Wright, a stranger whose last memory is of being on death row. Connor and Marcus both embark on an odyssey that takes them into the heart of Skynet´s operations, where they uncover the terrible secret behind the possible annihilation of mankind.
Chinese language movies:
- Cyborg Girl: On his 20th birthday, the unsociable Jiro Kitamura bumped into a lovely girl and they spent a memorable night together. But the mysterious female disappears the next morning and never comes back. A year later, Jiro meets the girl again and realizes she’s a cyborg from the future. The two begin living together and Jiro finds himself falling hopelessly for this emotionless superbot. Mandarin only
- Green Snake: Check out this 1993 classic fantasy flick remade with an all-star cast of Chinese A-listers. Adopted from Lilian Lee’s novel of the same name, this drama focuses on two snake demons who try to become human in order to experience love, lust and jealousy. Tsui Hark directs, Maggie Cheung stars as the green snake and Joey Wang stars as the white snake. Mandarin only.
- The Magic Aster (马兰花): A nostalgic story and an all-star cast are the attractions of the Chinese animation film “The Magic Aster.” The fantasy film, about a magic aster flower which helps the kind-hearted protagonist, is adapted from a popular 1950s stage play of the same name.
- McDull Kung Fu (麦兜武当）: This Hong Kong cartoon film tells the story about Mai Dou, a little piglet who leaves Hong Kong and go to Wudang Mountain to learn martial arts.
- Overheard (且听枫韵): The film stars Lau Ching-Wan, Louis Koo and Daniel Wu as a trio of police officers conducting surveillance on a listed company.
- One night in supermarket (夜店): A one-thing-leads-to-another comedy of misadventure entirely set in the pic’s title location. It’s the wee hours at Wang Wang Supermarket, where nerdy stockroom boy Li Junwei is on duty with – and only has eyes for – Tang Xiaolian. But the quiet soon lapses into chaos when balding, pop-eyed He Sanshui comes in with two doofus heavies and demands to speak to the mart’s boss lady, Wang Sufen.
- Perfect Bride (完美新娘): Perfect Bride is China’s answer to the hugely popular Bridget Jones Diary comedies, with 29-year-old ‘plain Jane’ saleswoman Du Leisi taking the lead role. Like Jones, Du is embroiled in an apparently lifelong struggle with her weight, her boss and the battle to find a suitable mate. Also like Jones, Du finds no end of ways to publicly and privately humiliate herself, with predictably humorous results.
Other language films:
- Séraphine: In this film based on the life of the painter Séraphine de Senlis, a German art collector on holiday notices a small but stunning painting in his rented apartment. He purchases the painting immediately and discovers that the work was created by a cleaning lady named Séraphine de Senlis. French with Chinese subtitles
- French Films: The summer breeze, the stars, maybe even a picnic… what could be more romantic? Except perhaps a French film (or 3)! On June 6, July 4, and August 1, Alliance Française presents “Le Premier jour du reste de ta vie”, “L’heure d’été” and “La vie est un long fleuve tranquille”. All movies in French with Chinese subtitles
- President Mir Qanbar: This 2005 Iranian documentary follows a 74-year-old retiree who is dedicated to winning an elected position in the government. Despite a profound lack of success in his campaign, he and a faithful friend campaign tirelessly, traveling from village to village, handing out flyers and talking with farmers, shepherds, and assorted passers-by. In Persian with Chinese subtitles.
- Les femmes de l’ombre: In May 1944, a group of French servicewomen and resistance fighters are enlisted into the British Special Operations Executive commando group. Their mission is to rescue a British army geologist caught reconnoitering the beaches at Normandy, and to kill a German SS colonel who is close to figuring out the imminent secret of D-Day. The story is inspired by the accomplishments of decorated SOE agent Lisé de Baissac.
- Mid Road Gang (Ma mha 4 khaa khrap): Makham becomes the involuntary leader of six stray dogs of various ages and genetic cocktails: Uncle Kafe, Keng, Piak, Pikul and Sexy, the miniature French poodle. The dogs are a pretty tight team, scratching out a living on the mean streets of Bangkok. Catastrophe strikes, however, when the slum they call home is razed to build a supermarket. Homeless, drifting and hungry, the friends are hounded..