Le Havre is the latest film by prolific Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki and was a big success at Cannes (winning 2 awards). It is also one of only 3 films of 2011 to be inducted into the Criterion collection so far.
Le Havre tells the story of Marcel Marx (André Wilms), an old shoe shiner in the title’s town who finds a young black boy Idrissa who is an illegal immigrate. He is hiding form the cops and takes him in. His wife is terminally ill but she won’t admit it to Marcel. They cops are after the boy to deport him and the rest of the film consists of Marcel trying to sort out a boat to get him to London.
The film is a really lovely low-key film. The film is called a “comedy-drama” but it’s not particularly laugh out funny but just gives you a smile throughout the film. The performances are all really wonderful all done very deadpan as expected in Kaurismäki’s films. The film’s look is very influenced of many French filmmakers such as Robert Bresson, Marcel Carné, Jean Pierre-Melville which is expected because of it’s setting and also in Bresson’s minimalism which is evident in many of Kaurismäki’s films.
The film overall is a wonderfully offbeat as expected with Kaurismäki and it interesting themed dramedy. It’s also to see a film that is deliciously old fashioned it’s a film that could have easily been made over 50 years ago and wouldn’t be much different. It’s highly recommended 90 minutes.