The Man Without a Past | EW.com

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The Man Without a PastFinnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki's serious sense of social compassion doesn't get in the way of great dark jokes in The Man Without a Past. In...The Man Without a PastDrama, Foreign LanguagePT97MPG-13Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki's serious sense of social compassion doesn't get in the way of great dark jokes in The Man Without a Past. In...2003-04-02Sony Pictures Classics
Markku Peltola, The Man Without a Past

(The Man Without a Past: Marja-Leena Hukkanen)

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The Man Without a Past

Genre: Drama, Foreign Language; Starring: Kati Outinen, Markku Peltola; Director: Aki Kaurismaki; Author: Aki Kaurismaki; Release Date Limited: 04/04/2003; Runtime (in minutes): 97; MPAA Rating: PG-13; Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki’s serious sense of social compassion doesn’t get in the way of great dark jokes in The Man Without a Past. In this delicate, deadpan comedy about homelessness – a best-foreign-film Oscar nominee – a man who lost his memory during a mugging (Markku Peltola) creates a new life for himself on the fringes of Helsinki. It’s the fringe-folk who help him: the poor family, living in an abandoned container by the docks, who feed him soup; the shy Salvation Army worker, Irma (Kati Outinen), who feeds him hope.

Irma’s not as dour as she looks, however; no Kaurismäki character ever is. At night, in the privacy of her tiny room, for example, she blares rock & roll on her radio. Indeed, the message, if there must be one, of this marvelous, stubbornly personal movie is that there is a spark in every soul. And that music is as important as soup. And that there is beauty to be found even in the colors of a shanty picked out against the scudding clouds of Helsinki.

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