Hammerman Ikon

Hammerman Ikon Film Guide

Le Havre
Director: Aki Kaurismäki
Cast: André Wilms, Kati Outinen, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Blondin Miguel, Elina Salo, Evelyne Didi, Quoc Dung Nguyen, François Monnié

Marcel Marx is a former bohemian who now makes a modest living as a shoeshiner in the port city of Le Havre, where he lives with his loving wife. One day, Marcel runs into an illegal immigrant boy from Africa, and finds himself playing the good samarithan. Following his Loser Trilogy, Aki Kaurismäki continues to explore the lives of the down-trodden, but his one-trick pony act is getting old by now, especially when the results here are closer to the terrible Lights in the Dusk than the inspired Drifting Clouds and The Man Without a Past. He turns another topical issue (immigration) into a magic realist fable, which doesn't include one believable character or situation. Everything is set in French cinema-inspired movie reality. The irony is that a prospective celebration of humanity becomes a handsome artifice with no emotional impact whatsoever. Kaurismäki's typically dry humour is still present, but it makes disappointingly few appearances. All of the above would still be fine if I hadn't seen him do this a dozen times before. This is the first part of another trilogy.