Eye For Film >> Movies >> Lights In The Dusk (2006) DVD Review
Lights In The Dusk
Reviewed by: Anton Bitel
There is a director's filmography, a trailer, and a stills gallery attractively presented as slideshow to music, but the real highlights amongst these extras are the two interviews – one with writer/director/producer/editor Aki Kaurismäki, the other with Maria Järvenhelmi (who plays femme fatale Mirja).
It is no real surprise that at 24 minutes, Järvenhelmi's interview is a good six minutes longer than her director's, for Kaurismäki is notoriously taciturn even by Finnish standards, and his piece has been cut up into very short sections (with hilariously desultory titles like "Finland vs. Portugal" or "if you want to work with me you must be desperate") no doubt to fill in the long icy silences. Not that his interview is without its rewards – on the contrary, he wields an even more minimalist variant on the kind of deadpan humour for which his films are so famous. On always casting the same family of dogs in his films, for example, he declares in an inscrutable monotone: "I use them because they are cheap and they are around, and they are the only dogs I know – personally. They are my dogs." Or on his affinity to the coast (but not to his Scandinavian neighbours), he has this to say: "I feel at home in the countries which are facing the sea – except Norway."
Elsewhere, he expresses admiration and envy for those who worked in pre-1962, pre-television Hollywood, and despairs of those who have followed (with the exceptions of Cassavetes and Jarmusch), he speaks of his status as a reluctant auteur, and boasts of his "total freedom to make lousy films."
Järvenhelmi's interview could not be more different. Warm and affable (unlike her character on screen), she can barely contain her enthusiasm for working with Kaurismäki and getting such a substantial female role. She is at pains to emphasise his uncommunicative approach to direction ("we didn't talk much, we just did it") and his meticulous scripts. As for the relative unpopularity of Kaurismäki's films in his native Finland, she has two explanations: that the Finns do not want to see the truth about themselves (that "they are lonely and they are sad"); and that they "just don't understand most of them".Reviewed on: 23 Aug 2007