Set in a bleak snowbound Helsinki, Fallen Leaves is an unlikely love story featuring two hard-luck survivors.
Alma Poysti stars as Ansa, who is sacked from her lowly job at a grocery store for pocketing an expired sandwich which should have been thrown in the bin.
One night at a karaoke bar she meets Holappa (Jussi Vatanen), a construction worker with an alcohol problem who gets fired twice, in quick succession, for drinking on the job.
The lonely pair meet up at a cafe and decide to go to a movie. He chooses a zombie film, The Dead Don’t Die, which surprisingly she enjoys.
There’s a spark between them but their budding romance is frustrated by a series of mishaps, starting with his loss of the scrap of paper where she has written her phone number.
Finnish writer/director Aki Kaurismaki has made a slow-paced sweet fable, laced with dry humour, about two downtrodden workers finding, losing and eventually finding each other.
Its timing, during the early stages of the Ukraine war, is clear from the frequent radio reports they hear describing the Russian military bombing of Mariupol.
The radio also plays loud pop music expressing emotions which Ansa and Holappa might be feeling.
Aki Kaurismaki is a veteran film-maker who, with his brother Mika, has been credited with rejuvenating the failing Finnish film industry in the 1980s.
Fallen Leaves, a Lotterywest Perth Festival film, will play at UWA’s Somerville Audiorium from Monday, January 8, to Sunday, January 14.
Watch the trailer…