“Falling Leaves”: A review of the Finnish Oscar nominee.  The beauty of silence
  • film “falling leaves” Directed by Aki Kaurismäki He is Finland's Oscar nominee. The main roles were played by Alma Puesti and Jussi Vatanen.
  • It is a story of two lonely people. One evening their paths crossed. Although there are many differences between them, they try to create a romantic relationship.
  • “Falling Leaves” is an “anti-romantic comedy.” It stands out among films that romanticize toxic and harmful relationship patterns.
  • The film won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. It was nominated for a Golden Globe in two categories: Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical (Alma Puesti). Polish viewers will be able to watch “The Falling Leaves” in cinemas during Valentine's Day, specifically on February 9.

She is a supermarket employee who lives a simple life. He lives in a small but charming studio apartment. Every day seems so similar. He is a worker who cannot find a permanent place. He drowns his sorrows in alcohol. They have many differences, but one thing in common is intense loneliness. Their paths crossed one night. One shy look is enough to spark curiosity and, eventually, infatuation. They are trying to build a semblance of a romantic relationship, but it must be admitted that they are reluctant to do so.

“Falling Leaves” by Aki Kaurismäki is a film about loneliness. About silence. About appearance. About an emotional disability that is a bit charming but certainly disturbing to the characters. There is also room for a definite black humour. Oscar nominee Finlandia disarms with an honest and sad love story of two lost people.

“Falling Leaves” was my first encounter with the work of the most important contemporary Finnish director, Aki Kaurismäki. His characters are full of contradictions: on the one hand, cold and reserved, and on the other hand, full of desires that remain deeply hidden under awkward introversion and minimal ability to communicate. Ansa and Holaba know that their relationship is futile, but there is an invisible thread that brings them together. Or maybe it's a desire to replace unbearable loneliness?

Aki Kaurismäki embodies the characters in a style dominated by bright colors. The red and yellow color can be clearly seen in the main character's outfit and her apartment. The film may appear to be set in a world decades ago, but from the beginning we know that it is the present – ​​news of the war in Ukraine being broadcast on the radio. The director makes references to contemporary works of popular culture (characters go to the cinema to see “The Dead Don't Die”), but also winks to film connoisseurs (incidental characters talk about “The Diary of a Country Priest”).

Sometimes the action is in the present, but the characters and Their history is certainly not recent.

“Falling Leaves” reminds me of a work directed by Wong Kar-wai called “In the Mood for Love.” The characters shouldn't be together, but they can't resist each other's attraction. A bright color palette suggests what they are going through internally. And those looks that can say more than the dialogue in the most beautiful cinematic love stories.

A piercing sadness radiates from the screen. The session can be called a therapeutic experience. Even though the film is only 80 minutes long, Kaurismäki creates a space for the viewer to experience their own feelings, take a break, and de-stress. “Falling Leaves” is an “anti-romantic comedy.” It's a response to contemporary clichés that often romanticize the harmful behavior viewers regularly experience on the most popular streaming platforms.


“falling leaves”, monastery. Aki Kaurismäki, Finland 2023, Distributor: Aurora Films, Premiere in cinema: February 9, 2024.

Read more: “La Chimera”: a mystical journey into the Italian afterlife [recenzja]

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