In The Man Without a Past a man ends up in hospital after a violent attack. He has been robbed of not only his money, but also his memory. Stoically he tries to keep his life on track. Thanks to a good friend at the Salvation Army (Kati Outinen) and a moth-eaten collection of bohemian friends, he is lucky enough to rediscover his spirit and vitality.
The Man Without a Past was nominated for an Oscar. At Cannes its prizes included the Grand Prix (the jury award) and the award for best actress (Kati Outinen). Kaurismäki’s dog Tahti won an unofficial Palm for ‘best performance by a dog’.
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.