Le Havre

Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki’s new film is a charming tale about people being nice. It’s an alien concept to me, I live in London. But in Kaurismäki’s Le Havre, strangers aren’t necessarily enemies, neighbours help each other out and miracles do happen. It’s told in a style that owes a lot to the great traditions of French cinema – there’s plenty of homage here to Renoir and Bresson here if you’re minded to spot it, and more than a touch of Jacques Tati too.

Elderly shoeshiner, Marcel lives a simple life with his sick wife Arletty. They don’t seem to have had children, which might help explain why Marcel is so keen to help out the young illegal immigrant boy (Idrissa) he comes across at the port one afternoon. Despite the attempts of the local police and one detective in particular who always appears dressed in the requisite black mac and trilby (and who has a great scene with a pineapple), the neighbours all pitch in to help hide Idrissa and try to reunite him with his mother in London.

There are plenty of laughs here, and some tears too, but what comes through most strongly is the feeling of hope and the power of community. This is a film with real heart – a proper gem.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s