Kaurismäki up for Czech celebration (but not willingly)
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
22/07/2011 - “How does it feel to be a celebrated star director? It is even worse than being unknown. In any case, everyone else may be celebrating, but not I,” explained Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki, when he was ‘Filmmaker in Focus’ at the Locarno International Film Festival.
This year he will be honoured with a retrospective at the Czech Film Summer School in Uhersdke Hradiste, south Moravia, the second-largest (and non-competitive) film festival in the Czech republic, which takes place between July 22-31.
The programme includes Le Havre [trailer, film focus], his most recent feature (and the first after his Helsinki/Loser trilogy), which was launched in competition at the Cannes International Film Festival to win the international critics’ FIPRESCI prize. Earlier this month (July) it received the award for Best International Feature at Germany’s FilmFest München, as well as the Audience Award at St Petersburg’s Kinoforum in Russia. Locarno will screen the film next month (August 10) to the 8,000 audience on the Piazza Grande. Starring André Wilms, Kati Outinen, Blondin Miguel, Jean-Pierre Darroussin and Elina Salo, Le Havre – which was shot in French – is the story of a former author and bohemian, now a shoe shiner in the Normandy city who tries to save a refugee child.
Kaurismäki will be around in Uhersdke Hradiste to introduce the film series, which comprises almost his entire body of work, and to lecture on tango, which he claims was invented by the Finns. (A German-Finnish documentary about this is currently being filmed).
The Czech Summer Film School will also pay tribute to Bosnian-Serbian director Emir Kusturica (who will also perform with The No Smoking Orchestra), Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and also present the so-far largest retrospective on US director Billy Wilder.