Aki Kaurismäki, born on 4th April 1957, is 57 today. Happy Birthday Aki.  He was born in Orimattila, Finland.

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He did a wide variety of jobs including postman, dish-washer and film critic, before forming a production and distribution company, Villealfa (in homage to  Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville (1965) with his older brother Mika Kaurismaki ,  also a film-maker. Both Aki and Mika are prolific film-makers, and together have been responsible for one-fifth of the total output of the Finnish film industry since the early 1980s, though Aki’s work has found more favour abroad. His films are very short (he says a film should never run longer than 90 minutes, and many of his films are nearer 70), eccentric parodies of various genres (road movies, film noir, rock musicals), populated by lugubrious hard-drinking Finns and set to eclectic soundtracks, typically based around ’50s rock’n’roll. His films are sparse, interesting and full of great characters. Here are a selection of my favourites.

Hamlet Goes Business (1987)

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Ariel (1988)

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Ariel poster


Leningrad Cowboys Go America (1989)

Leningrad_Cowboys_Go_America poster

The Leningrad Cowboys

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Film Clip

Rock n Roll will never die.

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The Match Factory Girl (1990)

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Film Clip

I Hired A Contract Killer (1990)

KINO - UNSERE ZEIT:  AKI KAURISMÄKI Dokumentation von Guy GirardHired 9Hired 8

Joe Strummer – Burning Lights

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Those Were The Days (Short) – 1992

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Those Were the Days 2

Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses (1994)

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Rivers of Babylon

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The Total Balalaika Show (1994)

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Happy Together


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Drifting Clouds (1996)

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The Man Without A Past (2002)

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Lights in the Dusk (2006)

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Le Havre (2011)

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So there you have it, a small celebration of Aki’s work on his birthday. If you’ve never seen an Aki Kaurismaki film, do yourself a favour, buy the Artificial Eye Box set and watch Leningrad Cowboys Go America as a start. You’ll love it.

Leningrad Box Set