Shadows in Paradise | Chicago Reader

Shadows in Paradise

The first part of a trilogy that includes Ariel and The Match Factory Girl, Aki Kaurismaki's 1986 feature chronicles a romance between a dour garbage hauler and a surly supermarket clerk (Kaurismaki stalwarts Matti Pellonpaa and Kati Outinen). The “paradise” the reluctant lovers inhabit is a low-rent, boozy Helsinki, the ironic flip side of the socialist utopia, rendered with grace and loving familiarity. The minimalist visual style owes much to Bresson, the gritty tone comes from Fassbinder. Kaurismaki brings his themes of the blue-collar blues and the redemptive power of love to a particularly poignant finale. In Finnish with subtitles. 76 min.

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