The Man Without a Past 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 .… The Man Without a Past 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 .… 2003-04-04 PG-13 PT97M Drama Foreign Language Kati Outinen Markku Peltola Sony Pictures Classics
Movie Review

The Man Without a Past (2003)

MPAA Rating: PG-13
Markku Peltola, The Man Without a Past | HELSINKI RAISER Peltola forgets the ''Past''
Image credit: The Man Without a Past: Marja-Leena Hukkanen
HELSINKI RAISER Peltola forgets the ''Past''
EW's GRADE
A

Details Limited Release: Apr 04, 2003; Rated: PG-13; Length: 97 Minutes; Genres: Drama, Foreign Language; With: Kati Outinen and Markku Peltola; 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.

Originally posted Apr 02, 2003 Published in issue #704 Apr 11, 2003 Order article reprints
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