July 24, 2020

Countries & Movies: Finland

Finnish cinema is represented in the Golden Thousand by one film - Aki Kaurismäki's dramedy "Mies vailla menneisyyttä (The Man Without a Past)". Film companies from Germany and France took part in the creation of the film, but the main role was played by Finnish cinematographers. Therefore, at most film festivals, this film represented Finland.

"Mies vailla menneisyyttä (The Man Without a Past)" was released in Finnish cinemas on March 1, 2002. Two months after its premiere, the film was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes international film festival. But for obvious reasons, this award was not received, since it went to the film "The Pianist" by Roman Polanski. But the Aki Kaurismäki's dramedy was awarded the second most important prize of this festival - Grand Prize of the Jury, as well as the award for Best actress.

In the same year 2002, the film "Mies vailla menneisyyttä (The Man Without a Past)" and its Director claimed the European Film Award, respectively, in the nominations Best European film and Best European Director. But in both nominations, this award went to the Spanish film "Hable con ella (Talk to Her)" and, accordingly, its Director, Pedro Almodovar.

In 2003, Aki Kaurismäki's film received several other nominations, the most prestigious of which were an Academy Award nomination for Best foreign language film, a Danish Bodil award nomination for Best non-American film, and a French César award nomination for best European Union film. The Academy Award "Mies vailla menneisyyttä (The Man Without a Past)" was lost to the German film "Nirgendwo in Afrika (Nowhere in Africa)" by Caroline Link, and the Bodil and César award again went to the film "Hable con ella (Talk to Her)".

Using sports terminology, we can call this film "forever second": there are many nominations, including very prestigious ones, but not a single significant victory. However, the review of the Russian film critic Sergei Kudryavtsev suggests that it was not without politics: “Aki Kaurismäki, who is a cult figure only in Europe, and few people know him in America, in the fall of 2002, without foresight, ruined relations with the US State Department, saying that will never go to the New York Film Festival, because the outstanding Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami was unjustly refused a US visa. The solidarity of the two AKs (for America they turned out to be more terrible than a Kalashnikov assault rifle!) should, from the point of view of those who in all actions of the American Film Academy sees political intent and intrigue, cost the Finnish director an Oscar nomination. Meanwhile, from the very beginning there was almost no doubt that "The Man Without a Past" was simply obliged to get into the coveted top five and, moreover, as one of the main contenders." At the same time, Kudryavtsev himself rated the film quite high, but not the highest, rating: 8.5 out of 10.

The overall assessment of professional American film critics looks approximately the same: almost all reviews are purely positive, but the ratings are not the highest. Thus, Anthony Scott from The New York Times gave the film 4.5 out of 5 points and described it as "at once artful and unpretentious, sophisticated and completely accessible, sure of its own authority and generous toward characters and audience alike — a movie whose intended public is the human race".

Roger Ebert gave the film 3.5 stars out of 4 possible, and concluded his review of the film as follows: "At the end of "The Man Without a Past," I felt a deep but indefinable contentment. I'd seen a comedy that found its humor in the paradoxes of existence, in the way that things may work out strangely, but they do work out. I felt a real affection for the man, and for the Salvation Army officer, and for the former wife who is not too happy to see her onetime husband again, and even for the poor sap who thinks he has to fight to preserve appearances."

The budget of the film "Mies vailla menneisyyttä (The Man Without a Past)" was 8 million Finnish marks, or approximately 1.2 million dollars. At the same time, the box office of the picture around the world amounted to $ 9.5 million, of which more than 90% fell on Europe. Thus, the box office of the film was more than 8 times higher than the cost of its production.

63% of IMDB and Kinopoisk users around the world gave this film a rating from 8 to 10. Based on this indicator and the above, the rating of the film "Mies vailla menneisyyttä (The Man Without a Past)" according to Filmgourmand was 7,958, making it the 770th Rank in the Golden Thousand.