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Shadows in Paradise (1986)

Varjoja paratiisissa (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 17 October 1986 (Finland)
An episode in the life of Nikander, a garbage man, involving the death of a coworker, a love affair and much more.

Director:

Aki Kaurismäki

Writer:

Aki Kaurismäki
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1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Matti Pellonpää ... Nikander
Kati Outinen ... Ilona Rajamäki
Sakari Kuosmanen ... Melartin
Esko Nikkari Esko Nikkari ... Co-worker (työkaveri)
Kylli Köngäs Kylli Köngäs ... Ilona's Girlfriend (ystävätär)
Pekka Laiho Pekka Laiho ... Shop Steward (myymälänhoitaja)
Jukka-Pekka Palo Jukka-Pekka Palo ... Third Man (kolmasmies)
Svante Korkiakoski Svante Korkiakoski ... Police (poliisi)
Mari Rantasila Mari Rantasila ... Nikander's Sister (Nikanderin sisar)
Safka Pekkonen Safka Pekkonen ... Pianist (pianisti) (as Safka)
Antti Ortamo Antti Ortamo ... 2nd pianist (pianisti II)
Mato Valtonen ... Pelle (as Markku Valtonen)
Sakke Järvenpää ... Staffan (as Sakari Järvenpää)
Ulla Kuosmanen Ulla Kuosmanen ... Melartin's wife (Melartinin vaimo)
Neka Haapanen Neka Haapanen ... Cook (kokki)
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Finland

Language:

Finnish | Swedish | English

Release Date:

17 October 1986 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

Shadows in Paradise See more »

Filming Locations:

Eteläsatama, Helsinki, Finland See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[first lines]
Nikander: Friday!
Co-worker: [co-worker is offering Nikander a drink] You want?
Nikander: I'm driving.
Co-worker: 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.
Nikander: What's the matter with it?
Co-worker: What ever.
Co-worker: I've got an idea - my own company. Five trucks to start with...
Nikander: What does it end?
Co-worker: 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.
[...]
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Connections

Followed by The Match Factory Girl (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Dile a tus ojos
Written by Guty Cárdenas
Performed by Guty Cárdenas
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User Reviews

 
Another Experimental Film that Expects the Audience to Do All the Emotional Work
14 July 2017 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

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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