Winner Cannes Film Festival 2023 Jury Prize
Hailed as the best-reviewed film of the 2023 Cannes Film Festival - where it topped Screen International’s prestigious critics’ poll – the beguiling new comedy romance from celebrated auteur Aki Kaurismäki (The Other Side Of Hope, Perth Festival 2018) follows two lost souls who meet by chance in the Helsinki night and then try, in turbulent times, to find companionship.
Ansa (Alma Pöysti) works at an unpleasant supermarket where the job is so badly paid that she takes home expired sandwiches to eat. Holappa (Jussi Vatanen) is a metalworker, labouring each day in a hazardous job that he is sure will kill him. He drinks through the working day, and then drinks again at night. Meanwhile, on the radio there are constant announcements about the Russian attacks on Ukraine, and on the streets, there are posters about climate protests. Against his will, Holappa is dragged to a karaoke night by a friend. There he meets Ansa and there’s a spark. Lost phone numbers, Holappa’s alcoholism and a variety of obstacles get in their way but still these two remain hopeful.
With his trademark deadpan style, minimalist dialogue and retro aesthetic (and a scene-stealing dog), Kaurismäki's latest delight showcases his unrivalled mastery for depicting down-on-their-luck characters in all their complexity, finding humour and optimism in the most unlikely of circumstances. Among the funniest movies from Finland’s most-beloved director, Fallen Leaves is a valuable reminder of the importance of love and connection.