Harvey Critic - 19/10

LE HAVRE, Grade: B

Aki Kaurismäki is not a household name, but those who know him might say he'd attract the crowd that would go for the films of Jean-Luc Godard. His shtick could be called dry' he has a predilection for black humor, though a dry fatalism would be the most accurate term based on some of his previous films. By fatalism I mean that he holds the philosophy that the events of the world are predetermined and little that we individuals can do will change things. His view that the world is silly-a human comedy, as it were-is evoked from some of the titles of his films such as "Leningrad Cowboys Go America," about Finnish musicians who seek fame and fortune in America, and "Take Care of Your Scarf, Tatiana," about a pair of Finns searching for coffee and vodka without which they consider life without meaning.

Bookmark and Share

Janus Films

Reviewed for Arizona Reporter by Harvey Karten
Grade: B

Directed By: Aki Kaurismäki
Written By: Aki Kaurismäki
Cast: André Wilms, Kati Outinen, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Blondin Miguel, Elina Salo, Evelyne Didi
Screened at: Review 1, NYC, 9/28/11
Opens: October 21, 2011

Yet several principals in "Le Havre," named after the port city in France's northwest Brittany region, commit themselves to decisions that may not lead to peace in the world but which clearly change some lives for the better. While you get involved in the basic plotting of "Le Havre," its unique qualities are the way that the characters are framed, and the deadpan way they talk-which should give the audience some broad smiles, maybe a few chuckles, but scarcely a belly laugh. In other words this is a comedy that would not appeal to those who believe that custard-pie, food-fight, banana-peel hysterics are the sine qua non of TV and movies.

"Le Havre" has the tone of the 50's and early 60's, a celebration what of one undistinguished fellow can do to make a small segment of the world a better place. Marcel Marx (André Wilms), a self-described bohemian at an earlier time, lives in a shack with his wife, Arletty (Kati Outinen), barely scraping by as a shoe-shine man, a mooch, and a bread thief. The inspector, Monet (Jean-Pierre Darroussin), seems like a modern Javert, the perfect cop enforcing the laws regardless of their silliness. When Idrissa (Blondin Miguel), a teen boy who smuggles himself into France from Gabon, is sought by police for deportation back to Africa, his escape from the authorities is aided by the nice people in the neighborhood such as Marcel, his chief pal Chang (Quoc Dung Nguyen), the grocer (François Monnié), and Marcel's dog, Laïka. In the picture's one serious note, Marcel's wife Arletty is ill with stomach cancer, hiding the seriousness of her condition with the help of Doctor Becker (Pierre Étaix).

Kaurismäki's cast for the most part never get excited but deliberately deliver their lines with all the emotion of performers during the French Neo-classical age, as though giving speeches or rehearsing for a play-all in the service of the dry humor that permeates the project. This is a feel-good pic without the two-Kleenex pretentions of TV's Hallmark Hall of Fame, and that's all good.

Unrated. 93 minutes. © 2011 by Harvey Karten Member: NY Film Critics Online © 2011 Harvey Karten Member: NY Film Critics Online.

Comment Using Facebook


Latest Movie Reviews
By Harvey Critic

Member NYFCO
At the movie's conclusion, Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) states: "We've had life for a billion years. Now we know what to do with it." What does she think we should do with our lives? Presumably we should be able to stare at a gun and watch the bullets fall out harmlessly to the ground; look at a bunch of gangsters pointing AK-47s at us and have them drop their pieces and fly to the ceiling flaying impotently' conjure up dinosaurs and disappear just as they are about to gobble you up; and drive effortlessly down a one-way highway while watching cars pile up helplessly. In other words, while you may think that Lucy, who is steadily able to raise the capacity of her brain from the usual, human 10% to 100%, will be able to solve a Rubik Cube in 15 seconds, complete a New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle in indelible ink, or memorize 154 theorems in minutes without ever taking high-school geometry, Lucy's brain is completely different. Sure, she probably could learn to speak French with a Montréal accent if she should get the strange notion to do so, but writer-director Luc Besson has other plans for this brainiac. She has the powers of a superhero: she can exercise telekinesis by moving objects and people from one place to another by simply willing it, can take a quick look at the unspoiled U.S. when Native Americans ruled the land, and touch the forehead of a famous scientist to discover that his six-year-old daughter had died in an auto accident. What's more she can look at an X-ray of a person on an operating table, discern that he has advanced, incurable cancer, and shoot the poor fellow because "he could not possibly survive anyway."

Arizona Newsroom
Pushing the boundaries of classical ballet, Spain's emerging choreographic powerhouse Alejandro Cerrudo presents Off Screen, a dance inspired by film. It's sexy and modern with eccentric moves. Ib Andersen showcases the elegant and intricate Symphonie Classique with costumes by Tony Award-winning designer Martin Pakledinaz,and Indigo Rhapsody, an arresting and athletic ballet danced to Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department will host six public open houses where constituents may review and ask questions about the 2014 spring recommendations for turkey, javelina, buffalo and bear.

Finding Arizona Reporter

Sponsored Links
Arctic Cat Parts | Hyosung Parts | E-Ton Parts | CFMoto Parts