FRANCE – 2011 – 93 MIN – COLOUR - FEATURE - IN FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
A FILM BY AKI KAURISMÄKI
Marcel Marx, a former author and a well-known Bohemian, has retreated into a voluntary exile in the port city of Le Havre, where he feels he has reached a closer rapport with the people serving them in the occupation of the honourable, but not too profitable, of a shoe-shiner. He has buried his dreams of a literary breakthrough and lives happily within the triangle of his favourite bar, his work, and his wife Arletty, when fate suddenly throws in his path an underage immigrant refugee from the darkest Africa.
As Arletty at the same time gets seriously ill and is bedridden, Marcel once more has to rise against the cold wall of human indifference with his only weapon of innate optimism and the unwavering solidarity of the people of his quartier, but against him stands the whole blind machinery of the Western constitutionally governed state, this time represented by the dragnet of the police, moment by moment drawing closer around the refugee boy.
4 Stars! "Empathy, wit and décor in Kaurismaki’s LE HAVRE’"
- THE GLOBE AND MAIL
10 out of 10! "a round of terrific performances, many priceless gags and the director’s deep sense of compassion for his characters, Le Havre ranks among Kaurismaki’s very best."
- THE GRID
"André Wilms says acting is dull unless his director is LE HAVRE’S Aki Kourasmäki" (Interview with André Wilms)
- NOW MAGAZINE
"As actor and director, Wilms and Kaurismaki have a rare relationship, even if it looks somewhat mad to outsiders. Wilms certainly enjoys Kaurismaki's dry humour. "Yesterday," says Wilms, "he sent me an email: 'We made a BIG mistake Andre. Everybody loves the film!' It's the kind of sentence I love from him." (Interview with André Wilms)
- TORONTO SUN
"...you must witness this jewel, ON THE BIG SCREEN"
"French actor André Wilms (Europa Europa) claims that he’s a little embarrassed by what he does for a living. “Robert Mitchum, he says it’s not a man’s job to be an actor, it’s a girly job. And it’s true. It’s not a job for men.” (Interview with André Wilms)
- THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT
To see the world through such good-natured rose-coloured glasses is a filmgoing experience quite unlike any other.
This week, new stuff at TIFF Bell Lightbox includes a film that everyone’s been talking about: Le Havre (Aki Kaurismäki, 2011), a distinctly modern tale of racial and class politics in which, encouragingly, “deadpan humour is the norm.”
- TORONTO FILM SCENE
Kaurismaki’s 'Le Havre' serves up trademark wit – on a baguette
- THE GLOBE AND MAIL
LE ROMANTISME D’UNE FRANCE OUBLIÉE
Finnish writer-director Aki Kaurismäki polishes his style of deadpan absurdism to a hilarious gloss in this tale of underdogs united.
- LA TIMES
Films We Like will handle distribution for Canada. Founded by award-winning documentary filmmaker Ron Mann, (Grass, Comic Book Confidential) Films We Like is a boutique distributor of documentary, independent and international films in Canada. Recent releases include: Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, Bill Cunningham New York, and the Cannes Palme D’or winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. Le Havre’s expected theatrical release is fall 2011.
LE HAVRE: An exceeding droll comedy from Finnish master Aki Kaurismaki, so charming in its retro manners and cares. Set in the French port city of the title, André Wilms stars as wily old shoeshiner Marcel, who dodges cops and annoyed shopkeepers as he cheerily dispenses polish and eccentric homespun philosophy. His bonhomie is put to the test by African stowaway Idrissa (Blondin Miguel), who is sought by police after arriving via shipping container. As good as the cast is — and it includes Kati Outinen as Marcel’s patient wife and Jean-Pierre Darroussin as a big-hearted detective — it’s the deceptively passive young Miguel who anchors the film, keeping it from floating away on a cloud of absurdity. P.H.
- THE TORONTO STAR (Capsule Review)
Aki Kaurismaki’s political fairy tale inspired from French cinema of the 1930’s wins big in Cannes
3.5 out of 4! "LE HAVRE is an exceeding droll comedy from Finnish master Aki Kaurismaki, whose dark worldview is balanced by a deep empathy for his blue-collar characters."
- THE TORONTO STAR
"...refreshingly simple pleasure."
"...sometimes it takes a village to help a child."
- THE NATIONAL POST
"Like being kind to strangers. Life is a gift in this story."
- TORONTO SUN
Interview with Andre Wilms "Humour is serious business"
- VANCOUVER SUN
"Wry wit sparkles in quiet comedy"
Matt Galloway speaks with film columnist Karen Gordon about LE HAVRE
- CBC METRO MORNING
"A Funny Film that Celebrates Harboring the Helpless"
- CRITICS AT LARGE