Quick Recap: Taisto Kasurinen is a coal miner, but after his mine closes down and his father commits suicide, he decides to head to the big city to find work. He sets out in a vintage car and immediately runs into trouble when his money is stolen. He is able to find a little work and eventually meets a woman.After running across the man who stole his money, Taisto is arrested and sent to jail for assault.Still in love, he breaks out of prison to be with her. More crimes are committed but in the end he, his wife and her son escape to Mexico on a boat called Ariel. MIND BLOWN.
Fun (?) Fact: I hate to reveal all of my secrets, but when doing research for this blog, I tend to find everything I need on Wikipedia. As of yet, I have had no need to search elsewhere. When I found the article for this film, I was disappointed to see that it is rather sparse. However, I did manage to find this gem of a fact: this movie is listed in the ‘1001 movies you should see before you die’ book. You don’t say?
My thoughts: I know nothing about Finland, except that it is cold. So I was intrigued to see that the first foreign film I would be viewing would come from a country I know next to nothing about. After watching Ariel in its entirety, I still know next to nothing BUT I can now make some assumptions for your reading pleasure:
1. The Finnish don’t mess around with emotion.
In the first 5-10 minutes of the film Taisto’s father kills himself in a diner. He tells his son to have his car and then pulls out his gun, walks into the restroom and a couple of seconds later, there is a gunshot. Taisto calmly walks to the back to confirm that his father is dead. He lights up a cigarette and moves on. I have no way of knowing if this is a director’s trademark to have everyone speak in a monotone and keep feelings neutral, as I just have this film to go by. At no point did anyone raise their voice, or cry or smile. In one scene, Taisto sleeps with Imeli, a parking maid he takes out to dinner. After they have sex, she asks if he is going to disappear in the morning. In the driest way possible, he answers, ‘no, I’m going to stay with you forever’. I thought this was sarcasm until he married her.
2. The Finnish are an efficient people.
This movie clocked in at a whopping 74 minutes, beginning to end. I was worried that I would have trouble following the plot since this was a foreign film, but it was as straightforward as it gets. It was like going from point A to point B on a map. There was no subplot and there were very few characters.
3. I know it’s the 80’s but the Finnish had exceptionally bad haircuts.
Once again, this could very well be a director trademark to present his characters in such an unflattering light but even Imeli, the parking maid whom Taisto falls in love with has a horrible hair job going on. Maybe it’s dark most of the year and so haircuts must be done in total darkness, but come on. No one should have to go through life like that.
4. For entertainment, the Finnish enjoy hanging out on rocks and laying their bottom halves in the water so their jeans can get soaked.
FInal review: 2/5. A part of me kept expecting the Mystery Science Theater 3000 folk to show up at any point but the plot itself wasn’t so bad and the dialogue was very straightforward. If a person has a desire to watch more foreign films, this would be a decent one to start with.
Where/ how I watched it: Netflix DVD
Up Next: Crumb, my first documentary on this list.