- Number of Discs: 3
- Rated: Not Rated
- Run Time: 3 hours, 35 minutes
- Video: Color
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Released: September 23, 2008
- Originally Released: 1986
- Label: Criterion
- 3-Disc Set
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33
- Aspect Ratio: Widescreen - 1.85
- Dolby Digital 1.0 - Finnish
- Subtitles - English
- SHADOWS IN PARADISE(1986)
- ARIEL (1988)
- THE MATCH FACTORY GIRL (1990)
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Aki Kaurismaki communes with Finland's working class in his "Proletariat Trilogy," a collection of three muted, tragicomic portraits of characters drowning in mundane lives. SHADOWS IN PARADISE (1986) follows a garbage collector set adrift by the death of a co-worker and then pinned to the earth by the love of a supermarket cashier. ARIEL (1988) concerns a coal miner who turns to crime to escape his static existence. The trilogy closes with THE MATCH FACTORY GIRL (1990), a stark, dour, and irony-rich story about a blue collar girl struggling with indifferent parents. See individual titles for additional details.
Description by Image Entertainment :
The poignant, deadpan films of Aki Kaurismaki are pitched somewhere in the wintry nether lands between comedy and tragedy. And rarely in his body of work has the line separating those genres seemed thinner than in what is often identified as his "Proletariat Trilogy," Shadows in Paradise, Ariel, and The Match Factory Girl. In these three films, something like social-realist farces, Kaurismaki surveys the working-class outcasts of his native Finland with detached yet disarming amusement. Featuring commanding, off-key visual compositions and delightfully dour performances, the films in this triptych exemplify the talents of a unique and highly influential film artist.
Shadows in Paradise(1986)
Lonely garbageman Nikkander (Matti Pellonpaa) finds himself directionless after losing his friend and co-worker to a sudden heart attack; unlikely redemption comes in the form of plain supermarket cashier Ilona (Kati Outinen, in her first of many performances for Kaurismaki), with whom he begins a tentative love affair. Boiling down what is essentially a romantic comedy to a series of spare and beautiful gestures, Kaurismaki conjures an unexpected delight that finds hope blossoming even amid gray surroundings.
In Kaurismaki's drolly existential crime drama, a coal miner named Taisto (Turo Pajala) attempts to leave behind a provincial life of inertia and economic despair, only to get into ever deeper trouble. Yet a minor-key romance with a hilariously dispassionate meter maid (Susanna Haavisto) might provide a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Ariel, which boasts a terrific soundtrack of Finnish tango and Baltic pop music and lovely cinematography by Kaurismaki's longtime cameraman Timo Salmimen, put its director on the international map.
The Match Factory Girl (1990)
Kaurismaki took his penchant for despairing character studies to unspeakably grim depths in the shockingly entertaining The Match Factory Girl. Kati Outinen is memorably impenetrable as Iris, whose grinding days as a cog in a factory wheel, and nights as a neglected daughter living with her parents, ultimately send her over the edge. Yet despite her transgressions, Kaurismaki makes Iris a compelling, even sympathetic figure. Bleak yet suffused with comic irony, The Match Factory Girl closes out the "Proletariat Trilogy" with a bang--and a whimper.