In Le Havre, Marcel Marx has said goodbye to his old life as a vagrant and is trying to build a home life. Working as a shoe-shiner doesn’t pay much, but his wife Arletty (Kati Outinen) takes good care of him. Marcel is content with life until fate brings him into contact with an African refugee minor.
Marcel does his best to help the boy. His optimistic view of life becomes a tool for breaking down the wall of human indifference. Fortunately, he can count on the indefatigable solidarity of the people in his neighbourhood. The police seem to be closing in on the refugee, but Marcel is not to be sidelined so easily …
Le Havre is one of the more upbeat films in Aki Kaurismäki’s oeuvre. Among other awards, this optimistic comedy won the international critics’ FIPRESCI Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
This movie is part of the retrospective called ‘The Essential Aki Kaurismäki’, for which his best films have been digitally restored. The extensive oeuvre of Finnish maestro Kaurismäki receives praise for its attention to humans facing precarious circumstances. Time and again, the director tells tales of loneliness and disturbed love, all in his typical style: bone dry, comical and nostalgic. Kaurismäki’s characters turn out to be – in and among all vodka-marinated melancholy and accordion music – more than losers. They are likeable heroes who suffer from a life that still manages, time after time, to be worth living. Kaurismäki allows his tragicomic narratives to be rooted in the mundane. He is also famous for his attention to the emotional effects of colour.