7.6/10
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33 user 33 critic

The Match Factory Girl (1990)

Tulitikkutehtaan tyttö (original title)
A woman's terribly dull life is upended by a one-night stand pregnancy, causing her to seek retribution.

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6 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Esko Nikkari ...
Vesa Vierikko ...
Reijo Taipale ...
The singer
...
Iiris' brother
...
Marja Packalén ...
The doctor
Richard Reitinger ...
Man in the bar
Helka Viljanen ...
Office employee (as Helga Viljanen)
Kurt Siilas ...
Policeman
Ismo Keinänen ...
Policeman
Klaus Heydemann ...
Worker
Erkki Friman ...
Member of dance band
Tapani Ikonen ...
Member of dance band
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Storyline

Iris has a dead-end job in a match-factory, lives with her dour and forbidding parents, and her social life is a disaster. But when she is made pregnant after a one-night stand by a man who thought she was a prostitute, she decides that enough is enough and plans her revenge... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

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Genres:

Drama | Comedy

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Release Date:

6 November 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Match Factory Girl  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Iiris: Half pint, please!
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Connections

Features Room Service (1938) See more »

Soundtracks

Kuinka saatoitkaan
Performed by Olavi Virta, with Eino Virtanen Orchestra
Arranged By Eino Virtanen
Finnish Lyrics By Sauvo Puhtila (as Saukki)
Original Lyrics Written By Fred Wise, Towney (aka Kay Twomey
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User Reviews

A simple, unhurried, beautiful, minimalist modern fable
5 December 2008 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

With THE MATCH FACTORY GIRL Kaurismaki might not tread new ground but instead perfects the stylistic hallmarks that marked him apart from most other directors of his generation. His work is that of a sculptor, hacking away at all the cinematic fat, shaping form by removing that which is not necessary. His movies as an extension of his sculptory approach attain an almost hypnotic quality - or perhaps boring uneventfulness for others. He's not at all trying to hit emotionally draining highs and lows but build a rhythmic lull, a soothing pace created of flows and ebbs that move with imperceptible change. As a result, his movies never hurry to get anywhere fast and when they get there not a whole lot happens. It's all about appreciating how they got there and the stylistic subtleties of that journey.

THE MATCH FACTORY GIRL finds Kaurismaki shunning dialogue even more than previous efforts, if that's even possible without making a modern silent picture. Which it pretty much is. The entirety of the dialogue doesn't amount to more than 1 minute and that too is used more as a form of punctuation to the images - he could easily have done the movie completely without dialogues if he so wanted. The story could have been summed up in a 20 minute short yet Kaurismaki stretches it to 65 minutes, a meagre duration by most people's standards, which here feels like a good 90 minutes.

Although the material is perhaps the most bleak and brooding he had done at that point in his career since his debut CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, it is spiced up by moments of his trademark glacial humour. A certain scene in bar involving a drunk, sleazy patron and rat poison had me laughing out loud, which is a minor success for a film of this kind. The most dramatic scenes are delivered with that same kind of deadpan unaffection that immediately acquires a serio-comic air for that reason.

Although it lacks the playfulness of its predecessor (ARIEL), this is still Kaurismaki in top visual form. He has a way with images and how he orchestrates them that is quite unparalleled at his level. Sure he's not a director of epic works and spectacle but he's carved a niche for himself over the years that has his name and particular sensibilities written all over it and he's been content to work within it. If you like his style, this is a safebet. If you're a newcomer I'd suggest starting with something like ARIEL.


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