Love Movie

Fallen Leaves

What constitutes a perfect film? A perfect film doesn’t have to be in any particular genre, in any event. A perfect film knows what it’s about, knows what it wants to say, and knows that even when what it has to say is unusually simple, what it says can’t be reduced to words or any form of description apart from the thing itself. Which means that a perfect film has to be seen in order for its perfection to be appreciated.

So I don’t want to say too much, or perhaps it’s better put, to write too much, about “Fallen Leaves,” the latest motion picture written and directed by Finnish maestro Aki Kaurismäki, his first in six years. Just an hour and twenty minutes long, the movie is a soulful romance that goes through conventional narrative paces. A man and woman, both cocooned in loneliness, almost meet, then do meet, then can’t meet, then meet again, then come to an understanding that unites them. The complications are familiar if you’re a human being and a follower of Kaurismäki’s prior work. There’s booze, there are bad jobs, there’s an encroaching outside world full of troubles. This isn’t an overtly socially conscious work the way that Kaurismäki’s recent immigration-themed comedy dramas have been but one of its leitmotifs is that whenever Alma Pöysti’s Ansa turns on her radio, there’s a report on the war in Ukraine.

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