Directed by Aki Kaurismäki
Starring André Wilms, Kati Outinen, Jean-Pierre Darroussin
Finland, France, Germany, 2011, 93′
Swinging between fairy tale, dreamlike vision and social denunciation, Le Havre by Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki is the kind of film that will make you leave the cinema feeling a bit more hopeful about the world and human kind: the relationship between a humble shoeshine and a refugee child facing the risk of being expelled from France, the instinctive solidarity of neighbourhood friends against a blind and repressive judiciary system, the totally unselfish generosity of these gentle social outcasts, carry us in a world beyond reality, quite a land of make-believe, although staying strongly clung to the most current reality (the socio-political topic of immigration and racial integration). A world in which colours are carefully prepared and combined (the opposition between cold and warm colours is recurring and particularly the colour red acquires a significant sense, especially if one considers certain hints about socialism, such as the name of the protagonist, Marcel Marx); in which the arrangement of objects, inspired by socialistic design, creates a delicate harmony and is loaded with significance and poignancy (see the contrast with the jail, dominated by the white colour and by sharp shapes, mostly oblique and vertical lines); in which even the bad black vulture is not so bad after all. And just when you think that even this enchanted world can no longer escape from reality, here surprise will seize you again.
by Elisa Martellini