7.6/10
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The Match Factory Girl (1990)

Tulitikkutehtaan tyttö (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Comedy | 6 November 1992 (USA)
A woman's terribly dull life is upended by a one-night stand pregnancy, causing her to seek retribution.

Director:

Aki Kaurismäki

Writer:

Aki Kaurismäki
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6 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kati Outinen ... Iris Rukka
Elina Salo ... Mother
Esko Nikkari Esko Nikkari ... Stepfather
Vesa Vierikko Vesa Vierikko ... Aarne
Reijo Taipale Reijo Taipale ... The singer
Silu Seppälä ... Iris Rukka's brother
Outi Mäenpää ... Iris Rukka's co-worker
Marja Packalén Marja Packalén ... The doctor
Richard Reitinger Richard Reitinger ... Man in the bar
Helka Viljanen Helka Viljanen ... Office employee (as Helga Viljanen)
Kurt Siilas Kurt Siilas ... Policeman
Ismo Keinänen Ismo Keinänen ... Policeman
Klaus Heydemann Klaus Heydemann ... Worker
Erkki Friman Erkki Friman ... Member of dance band
Tapani Ikonen 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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Comedy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Finland | Sweden

Language:

Finnish

Release Date:

6 November 1992 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Match Factory Girl See more »

Filming Locations:

Vallila, Helsinki, Finland See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Matka suomalaiseen elokuvaan: Kaupunkiblues (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Sidran
Composed by Klaus Treuheit
Performed by The Klaus Treuheit Trio: Chris Lachotta (as Christian Lachotta) (Contrabass), Hans-Günter Brodmann (Drums), Klaus Treuheit (piano)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
no love, no future, a desire for revenge
5 May 2005 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

Iris is a young Finnish girl whose life has no horizon. She works in a match factory and still lives at her parents'. She escapes by reading soppy love stories or by attending a dance. One night, she thinks she has found Prince Charming. But the latter reveals himself a scornful human being who has no consideration for her. Then, she is chased away by her parents and relies on her brother's generosity to put her up. But Iris didn't say her last word and she decides to prepare a plan to have a revenge on the ones who couldn't love her.

In the nineteenth Century, Andersen, a Danish writer wrote a tale entitled "the little match girl". Here, the film-maker Aki Kaurismäki kept certain elements of this tale to create in his own way, a sort of updated version. And it's a much more austere one so much that it virtually evokes Robert Bresson's cinema. This is how I perceive "the Match Factory Girl" (1990): a cross between a modernized version of Andersen's tale and Bresson's cinema for the straight-forward style and the intense austerity in which the story bathes.

Aki Kaurismäki seems to have understood that to give his movie a big dramatic intensity, ostentation and exaggeration were to be excluded. The amount? A grievous movie which hurts where everything in the cinema writing is reduced to simplicity, nearly stillness and despair. This, to better express the dreary world in which Iris is prisoner and the wrong hopes she comes up against. Barely camera movements (the movie nearly looks like a succession of paintings), sinister scenery, blue-green lighting, dumb or merciless characters blend themselves to create a universe impenetrable to happiness. To plunge more in this desolate world, Kaurismäki nearly shot a silent movie, only scattered by laconic and reduced in the extreme dialogs. But to tell the truth, dialogs are not the most important thing. Looks matter more and reveal best the characters' thoughts and feelings.

The director's sympathy towards Iris and making her put up at her brother's are the only pities he shows and his movie would be of a total blackness if there wasn't humor. A humor which acts in an ironic way: "I came to tell you goodbye...".

Overrall, this grave movie about the lack of love strikes right at the heart and its vision is rather difficult. If you are down in the dumps, save it for a better day. It's a short movie (hardly an hour) but Iris' pale and retiring countenance stays rooted for a long time in the spectator's brain. And Kati Outinen, impressive of fragility and sensitiveness is perfect in this role.


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