Only connect. In gray, class-conscious Helsinki, Nikander is a stoic, solitary garbage man. Cigarettes, coffee, bingo games, and English lessons border his circumscribed life. There are few words, no smiles, and no laughter. Violence and the threat of violence seem close at hand. Ilona, a supermarket clerk who frequently loses her job, bandages Nikander's hand one evening; later he gets her out of a jam, and they begin an on-again off-again relationship. "Why do I keep losing?," Nikander asks his co-worker, Melartin, a man Nikander met in jail and helped get a job. Can he break his losing streak?Written by
Towards the end, there's a scene where Nikander's friend talks about a problematic fellow worker named Mikkonen. Matti Pellonpää, who plays Nikander here, would later play Mikkonen in Ariel (1988), the second part of the Proletariat trilogy directed by Aki Kaurismäki. See more »
When Nikander and Ilona leave the gas station and ride down the road, they pass a white car. The white car is standing still in the middle of the road. Presumably they drove so fast that they passed the white car, but it stands still. See more »
[co-worker is offering Nikander a drink]
Listen, Nikander. We've been a team quite a while. But I've been doing this for 25 years. I'm getting tired and so is my heart.
What's the matter with it?
I've got an idea - my own company. Five trucks to start with...
What does it end?
The sky is the limit. The state and the banks will back us. I know everything about this game, but I'm not going to die behind the wheel.
[...] See more »
Another Experimental Film that Expects the Audience to Do All the Emotional Work
One of reviewers has called this movie "a beautiful example of minimalism". By this I believe is meant minimalism of acting, as the two leads, Matti Pellonpää and Kati Outinen, spend the first forty minutes of this movie without any expression, until one breaks out in a sardonic smile. This does not look like minimalism to me, but depression. As I have remarked in other reviews, a low affect is typical of depression and accurate in its portrayal. It is not, however, interesting.
It's a movie about two lower-class loners. He's a garbageman. She's been fired from three jobs in the last few months, for what she says is no reason. On their first date, he takes her to what appears to be a bingo game in a DMV office. She asks him what he wants. He says "nothing". I believe him. Eventually she stops showing up.
She regrets it. So does he. He shows up to invite her to see his sister in a mental hospital.
In the theater, in the dark, surrounded by other people who are paying attention, the bleached colors and the effort made to read emotion into the blank eyes of the players is an engrossing operation. It's clear that these two want the simplest and most human of things, a little sex and not to be alone. However, they demand too much from each other, to make the offer without indicating they want it. How can they expect anything? And, given the director's indifference to the audience, his "minimalism", how can he expect an audience to put in the work without more of an indication that there is an expectation of some reward?
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