Tim Vermeulen

The Loneliest Man of The Crowd: A Loser's Guide to Helsinki

An analysis of the representation of Helsinki in Aki Kaurismäki's ‘Loser Trilogy’

And so every year the day comes when the work-men remove the marble pediments, lower the stone walls, the cement pylons, take down the ministry, the monument, the docks, the petroleum refinery, the hospital, load them on trailers, to follow from stand to stand their annual itinerary. Here remains the half-Sophronia.
Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities, p.63.

Of the little critical writing published on the work of Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki, most has been an (attempt to) analysis of its recurring ambiguous tensions of proximity vs. distance, the individual vs. the absolute totality, and so on. Most critics and academics alike have discussed it in terms of anachronism. And indeed, the norms and values (discretion, dignity, pride, honour and solidarity) (1) and literary, formal speech of his working class protagonists are out of date; the restaurants they eat at, or the bars they smoke and drink (and drink, and drink) at, are nostalgic reminders of a far off past, as are their obsolete modes of transport (twenties/thirties’ trams, fifties’ American cars). But if this tension is one of anachronism(s), it is certainly also one of the less often discussed anachorism(s): ‘a-being-out-of-place’, displacement, and, somewhat broader, ‘dislocation’. (2) As Finnish film scholar Tytti Soila aptly put it, rather than merely with the past, ‘Aki Kaurismäki’s films are preoccupied with past milieus’. (3) According to Soila these past milieus are situated either in-between the both historical and spatial transition from the country side to the city, or in-between the both historical and spatial transition from Russian communism to Euro-American capitalism. (4) These milieus are manifested by, and manifest themselves, most visibly in the city, nowadays determined by Euro-American capitalism for it is logically only here that they become historically and spatially contradictory and in conflict with themselves. This city, of course, is Helsinki.

lights_21In this essay I will textually and theoretically analyse and discuss Aki Kaurismäki’s representations of these past, but also present milieus in relation to his representation of Helsinki as such. The films I will in this regard rather haphazardly analyse and discuss are those films that together form what Kaurismäki has referred to as the ‘Finland trilogy’, but the critics termed for rather self-explanatory reasons the (second, after a first one in the eighties) ‘Loser trilogy’: Drifting Clouds (1996), The Man Without a Past (2002) and Lights in the Dusk (2006).

A language of the city


A city, or the urban, theorists such as Henri Lefebvre and Michel de Certeau have argued, can be read as a language, or rather, perhaps, as a plurality of languages – what the former refers to as a texture or practice, and the latter, following Foucault, as a discourse or apparatus (dispositif). (5) As a language, it has an alphabet, i.e. architecture of its own, of paths, edges (shores, railroad cuts, walls), districts, nodes and landmarks (6) – what Lefebvre terms the ‘representation of space’ and De Certeau ‘d’espace propre’; (7) and, as such, it also has its own ‘locutors’: dwellers and walkers. If the architecture constitutes and situates the city’s places, and, simultaneously, much of their context, the cityscape, the act of dwelling or walking creates its (lived) spaces, its sense thereof – respectively ‘representational space’, ‘spatial practice’ or ‘spatial tactics’. (8) In the latter namely one not only necessarily appropriates the city’s horizontal and vertical architecture, but also spatially acts it out, expresses it: in the act of dwelling or walking, one always finds oneself momentarily in, but generally between a here, or near, and a there, or far – one is not merely in places, one always, inevitably, passes in or through them or, rather, practices them; this (directed, meaningful) spatial and temporal practice of place(s) is itself thus not just an instance or configuration of space as such – a place – but, indeed, (lived) space itself – that what is so often referred to as a ‘sense of place’. (9) ‘In relation to place, space is’, De Certeau has adequately read the city-language, ‘like the word when it is spoken’. (10)

Reading Kaurismäki’s Helsinki as such a language, or plurality of languages, I will, as said, first take on its alphabet, i.e. architecture, and then discuss its primary dwellers: the unemployed (Drifting Clouds), the homeless (The Man Without a Past), and the lonely (Lights in the Dusk).

Its rather unusual alphabet

For many, Helsinki, with its alphabet of ‘broad avenues…and spacious open areas’, is ‘among the most appealing and liveable cities in the world’. (11) But not for Kaurismäki. Throughout his work, and especially in his second ‘loser trilogy’, these places of passage are not so much (re)presented, as is common practice, as paths and nodes (‘intensive foci’ to and from which one travels, both centres and epitomes of districts) but rather, I would argue, as empty, unheimliche edges: disruptive, marginal places. (12) Edges, in short, ‘are the linear elements not...considered paths’, ‘breaks in continuity’, but also ‘boundaries between two phases...: shores, railroad cuts, edges of development, walls’. (13) These spatial edges moreover, someone like Rob Shields convincingly argues, should also be understood as cultural ‘marginal places’ which are still behind in the urban and capitalistic, modern project of progress; as edges, thus, of civilization: commonly liminal, and transgressive, they are socially and culturally peripherous. (14) Kaurismäki ‘marginalises’ Helsinki (but also the city in general, as becomes manifest in his two films I Hired a Contract Killer (1990) and Bohemian Life (1992)) in two ways: one the one hand, he turns its paths and nodes into edges; and in a reversal thereof, he, on the other hand, represents its edges as paths, nodes and even entire districts.

The first is to some extent a consequence of what one could perhaps most adequately term a ‘de-spectacularisation’ associated with the (neo)realism of Ozu, Fassbinder, and Jarmusch: an immobilization of movement and the mobile, and a tarnishing and fading of (difference in) colour. Exemplary here are the opening images of a main avenue – which recur regularly throughout the film – in Kaurismäki’s last work about loneliness, Lights in the Dusk. The low, static, and distant camera shows neither its beginning or end, its departure or destination, its contextual horizon. Rather than following its architectural sens – direction and meaning – it reframes the avenue, that is, it isolates and dissociates it from it, and then ‘(re)signifies’ it. Instead of a path, it is now a border, an edge, between the objective camera and a concrete and glass block on the other side. Moreover, the avenue is devoid of (spatial acts of) people or traffic, or of any diegetic street noise: this is not a dwelling place, a lived space. This solemn sense is enhanced by its overly rationalized, inhuman texture and its pale colours: the asphalt, concrete, metal, glass and blocked out sky are all of a sombre grey-blue. Here even the film’s protagonist, the nightly dweller Koistinen (Janne Hyytiäinen) in his dark outfit, fades away, disappears in and against this background (he literally hides himself in one of its niches, margins). And in the rare occasion there are people dwelling around in this avenue, or in its nearby city park, like in The Man Without a Past, they are either violators, physically expressing these places’ oppression, infringement, or the violated; but not of a violence which is spectacular, but which is – like the city’s path or node where it has place itself – fast, ugly and nameless. (15)

For this reason also, there are no landmarks envisaged in Kaurismäki’s Helsinki. Without them, the city’s blue and grey glass, metal and concrete alphabet has no ‘sense of locality’ whatsoever, as Ginette Vincendeau recently put it. ‘Every city is the same’, femme fatale Mirja (Maria Järvenhelmi) says stoically, or perhaps rather indifferently, in Lights in the Dusk. Like every other postmodern, global city, Kaurismäki’s Helsinki is here an anonymous ‘any-city’’ (16), a ‘patchwork nowhere’. (17)

The second, more common strategy takes place most often at construction sites, refuse-dumps and other wastelands within, or rather at the boundaries of what one commenta-tor has adequately described as Kaurismäki’s ‘cinematic realm’, the Helsinki harbour. (18) As opposed to the city’s common places, these marginal places are at first sight indeed rather wild and irrational, disordered, undefined and as such appear as somewhat unheimlich. But whereas the excessively rational, strict architecture of the former constantly physically, or rather spatially infringes the films’ protagonists, this as yet unfinished – and probably never to be finished – and therefore still undefined structure of the latter spatially tolerates them and their many different practices (as I will discuss in more detail later); it is therefore these marginal places they inevitably reside to. Sometimes because in the city’s paths and nodes, they are lonely, like Koistinen; at other times because it is where they have been physically violated, again like Koistinen, later on, or like Ilona’s (Kati Outinen) husband Lauri (Kari Väänänen), in Drifting Clouds, or even murdered (if only to become alive again), like M., The Man Without a Past (Markku Peltola).

miesvaillamenneisyytt2_1 This difference between the physical infringement, alienation and finally exclusion of and from the city on the one hand, and the spatial tolerance and sense of place of the edges of and in the other, is never more visible than in The Man Without a Past. Whereas the so called ‘spaces of representation’ in Helsinki are always represented as narrow, dark and oppressing, there aren’t any at all yet in the dockland wastelands. These edges are, as said, barren but still bare at least, always under some construction, not yet planned, mapped by abstract architects, estate agents and commercial and governmental bureaucrats; they lack these espaces propres, and are thus in fact only perceived and conceived by the concrete dwellers: they are merely ‘representational spaces’ and can thus be spatially practiced as such. As ‘representational spaces’ these places are not anarchistic however. Indeed, the city’s norms, values, rules and laws are abandoned; but there are other ones, in accordance with the physical places themselves, and the perceptions and conceptions of their primary dwellers, the unemployed, the homeless and the lonely: consciousness, dignity, pride, personality and solidarity.

Through this spatial and social practice of their places, The Man Without a Past and his fellow dwellers indeed turn these edges, that are, because they are as yet unformed, still yielding, tractable and transformable, into crop fields, paths, homes, nodes and even districts, locales of community. The different pale, but bright colours, yellow, red and blue, and the diegetic jazz or rock & roll, from juke box or Salvation Army orchestra, emphasize this rural or small town like Gemeinschaft. Instead of merely coexisting, like the urbanites in the average neo-capitalistic, postmodern, global city, these dwellers – which are indeed, as I will argue shortly, not flaneurs – also connect, that is, socially share their common space. (19)

If these paths and edges, districts and its nodes are the city’s main consonants, and landmarks its marginal ones, the ‘q’ or ‘z’, the homes, cafés and restaurants are its vocals. More than through the pronunciation of consonants, it is through the use of certain vocals – as in an accent, slang or dialect – that the city dweller either verbally or spatially expresses his or her implaced identity, Dasein. If the anachronistic, sober but affectionate, sympathetic homes of Kaurismäki’s protagonists are in this regard significant, or the spacious, hypermodern but impersonal residences of the antagonists, then certainly the cafés and restaurants they both frequently visit, according to Finnish film scholar Tytti Soila primary archetypical Kaurismäki cityscapes, are exemplary sites. (20) Just like there are principally two kinds of edges, there are also two types of cafés and restaurants. The first type of universal rather than local restaurants is those of the main paths and nodes, expansive and chique, fully determined by intellect and money, status. These are the places Kaurismäki’s protagonists are again and again infringed by or excluded from. When Koistinen visits a rather luxurious bar/restaurant one night, he is immediately socially and spatially excommunicated and displaced in a narrow, dark corner, pressed behind – can it be more degrading? – a toilet door. In his 1986 film Shadows in Paradise, part of the first ‘loser trilogy’, working class Ilona (Kati Outinen) and Nikander (Matti Pellonpää) are not even allowed entrance to one such restaurant. (21) The second type of local cafeterias are the so called baaris: inexpensive, simple places, they signify ‘a period of transition from agrarian to city life’, when they ‘were characteristic of small Finnish communities and working-class quarters of the city.’ (22) Now these baaris however, for Kaurismäki a historical instance as well as a condition, are in many ways outdated and outplaced: they, with their traditional, kitsch style, refer to a rurality and a community which were either never there, or aren’t there anymore. Thus in both time and space they take an in-between place: in between country side and city life; in between an agrarian society and a capitalist one; in between an Gemeinschaft and a Gesellschaft. In between another time and this, in between another place and this, this place is therefore not (yet) mapped by architects and urban planners because it isn’t, like the wasteland, part of their alphabet. But if that is so, who expresses it then?

Its even more uncommon ‘locutors’ (From Baudelaire to Baudelaire)


Although Lefebvre reads the language of the city pragmatically, and De Certeau semiotically, they share an understanding of its alphabet – architecture – and speech – dwelling. (23) Just like the alphabet is the inevitable condition for any speech, for both of them it is the horizontal and vertical architecture which enables the spatio-temporal act of dwelling – without home or boulevard, one of course cannot dwell in either of them. One is thus at the same time, through appropriation, subjected to the city, and, through what I have referred to as a (lived) space and ‘sense of place’ (24) but is in cultural geographical jargon commonly termed ‘representational space’, ‘spatial tactics’, or ‘spatiality’ (25), subjects it, that is, dwells (in) it in one’s own way. This practice can be either called habitus, or, more thoroughly yet more broadly, discourse or dispositif. (26) In short, these two different concepts discuss the extent to which (physical) place constitutes subjectivity, as well as the degree to which this subjectivity then (re-) constitutes place. Because every place – whether a house, a street or a district – has its own distinct, local set of norms, values and officious legislation, it spatially and discursively constitutes its own, place-specific, subjectivity, or, rather, subjectivities. Some subject-dwellers are at ease in different types of places, but others, because they do not want to, or, more likely, because they cannot adapt to local implicit or explicit rules and ‘laws’, are often or always out of place.

The former, the city’s primary dweller, it is often argued, is the so called flaneur or, nowadays at least, the flaneuse. A much discussed, mostly literary and cinematic figure, with an indeed, as one commentator has aptly remarked, almost ‘cliché (27) scholarly history and philosophy of his or her own, it will suffice here to identify some of his or her main (ontological) characteristics and most common (re)incarnations. The flaneur, Baudelaire wrote at the end of the 19th century, is both child and man, and as enthusiastic, and passionate, as he is blasé, or, rather, dandyesque in his appearance(s). (28) Indeed, ‘the crowd is his element’, and it is thus ‘his passion...to become one’ with it. To this extent, that his ‘house’ is ‘set up...in the heart of the multitude, amid the ebb and flow of movement, in the midst of the fugitive and the infinite. To be away from home and yet to feel oneself everywhere at home; to see the world, to be at the centre of the world, and yet to remain hidden from the world (...) he everywhere rejoices in his incognito.’ (29) For the flaneur, the boulevards, arcades or department stores he dwells or strolls in are thus in fact the (non-)places he inhabits: his homes, his habita. But unlike every other place, this transitory home has no firm physical architecture or structure of its own. Rather it is what Plato once referred to as a chora: ‘it continues to receive all things, and never itself takes a permanent impress from any of the things which enter it, making it appear different at different times.’ (30) To ‘all impressions to which he is subjected in the street’ he is only temporarily affective or empathic, never permanently: the flaneur always ‘pursues his own perception’ and ‘is fully in possession of his individuality’ – whatever that is. (31) Because if the crowd is his ‘passion’, it is also his ‘profession’: his transitory experiences of the vernacular are to be written or painted and, ultimately, sold for money. (32) He is, Baudelaire wrote, ‘a mirror as vast as the crowd itself...a kaleidoscope...with consciousness, responding to each of its movements and reproducing the multiplicity of life and the flickering grace of all the elements of life.’ (33) Following Baudelaire, Walter Benjamin here compared the flaneur with the more degraded figures of the prostitute and the rag picker (chiffonier or Lumpensammler), and later with the sandwich man. (34) Like the flaneur, they too are not so much leisurers as they are loiterers, apparently aimlessly ‘botanizing on the asphalt,’ dwelling the streets and the arcades, ‘supposedly to take a look at it, but in reality to find a buyer.’ (35) They take, as Benjamin so adequately put it, ‘the concept of being-for-sale itself for a walk. (36) If these marginal figures were indeed, as Benjamin argued, disappearing from city life, it was, commentator Susan Buck-Morss convincingly notes in a by now standard article, merely because in the consumer society of late or postmodernity, their ‘perspective attitude’, their objectifying, commodifying gaze has become common, and omnipresent (and consequently, everyone is him or herself an object, a commodity always for sale). (37) The flaneur, the prostitute and the collector, she concludes, are thus (mythical) Urforms, less present in their ‘flourishing’, than in their afterlives. (38)

However omnipresent in late or postmodern life, these figures are practically invisible in Kaurismäki’s ‘loser trilogy’ – which is not to say they aren’t there at all, but rather that they aren’t at least in the marginal life in the edges of civilization he envisages. Typically, there is one character that has the name ‘Baudelaire’ (in Bohemian Life): an anything but contemplative dog. More recently, another example of this ironic, self-conscious disavowal of the flaneur has manifested itself in The Man Without A Past. Baudelaire (the man, not the dog) had compared the flaneur with Edgar Allen Poe’s The Man of the Crowd. (39) This man had been dead, but had come to life again, and was now ‘rapturously breathing in all the odours and essences of life’ in order to remember it. The Man Without a Past, of course, also is, as a German commentator recently put it, ‘kein Lebender’, but ‘ein Untoter’, an ‘undead’. (40) But instead of merely breathing life in, he is also constantly breathing it out: growing his own food, putting it on the table, finding a warm and cosy shelter, falling in love, and, of course, instead of just listening to it, forming his own rock & roll band. (41) This man, M., is not at all keen on remembe-ring; he rather wants to experience the present, and influence the future. And then there is, as said, throughout Kaurismäki’s entire oeuvre, but particularly in his ‘loser trilogy’, the ‘edging’ of the flaneur’s common dwelling places: boulevards, arcades, shopping malls. Except for the already discussed images in The Man Without a Past and Lights in the Dusk, the scene of Koistinen and Mirja in the mall, also in Lights..., is exemplary: they dwell around there not in the daytime, when it is crowded, but at night, when there is no one or nothing of the urban life to observe, to gaze at. If it is the flaneur’s passion and profession to be surrounded by crowds, it is Koistinen’s work to keep them away. Somewhat nearer to the figure of the flaneur is perhaps Mirja, who appears to be at leisure, loitering with him from shop to shop, and says she’s merely window shopping, while in fact observing his every act, memorizing it, and reproducing it for others. Like the flaneur thus, she functions, or works, as an intermediary between the lower class, personified by Koistinen, and the in this film unjust, criminal bourgeoisie – the heartless, rational and therefore typical city-gangster Lindström (Ilkka Koivula). She is indeed the only one who spatially dwells in both the former’s and the latter’s place, without being framed and firmly hold by either one of them, nor is ever out of place. More than a flaneuse, she is what Baudelaire’s contemporary Georg Simmel termed somewhat more pessimistically the ‘metropolitan’ or ‘free’ type of man, or here woman: her norms and values (reduced to) those of the intellect and of money, to all the impulses and experiences of the city life necessarily blasé, indifferent, her contacts inevitably impersonal and often exploitative. (42) Not hold back by consciousness, emotions, sensations or contacts, she can pretend to be one person in one place, and someone else in another, and thus be almost effortless at ease in more than one place. Kaurismäki envisages her versatile method-acting through fashion. In the restaurants and cafés Koistinen takes her, or in his small home, she is dressed accordingly, that is, in plain jeans and without any jewellery or makeup: a typical, simple small town girl. When in chique restaurants however, or a luxurious penthouse with Lindström, dressing up for quite another occasion, she wears gallant, exclusive and expensive haute couture. In other words, the setting, the place becomes only her temporary outfit, her (post)modern ephemeral identity.

Instead of as flaneurs, or their perversions, the metropolitan men, I would argue, one should discuss Kaurismäki’s unemployed, homeless and lonely city dwellers as their opposites, what another German scholar, Oswald Spengler, has referred to as ‘peasants’, or ‘eternal men’. (43) Like the cafés and restaurants they dwell in, these ‘peasants’ signify both a specific historical instance and a more general immanent, a historical condition. They are earth or soil bound, settled but natural beings, open to external stimuli: every peasant, as Spengler put it, ‘is itself plant, thrusts its roots deep into its “own” soul’. (44) The soil, or its soul should here not be literally understood as Blut und Boden, as a Romantic nationalism – although one could argue that too was intended – but rather figuratively, as the negative and opposite of the abstract: the concrete. If the abstract for Spengler is that with no firm ground in ‘reality’, that is, intellect or money, the moneta-ry system, the concrete is that which does have a basis in something ‘real’, i.e. either land or work. The abstract city life is thus – although he preceded it and will outlive it – incomprehensible for the concrete peasant: on its pavement, ‘the yokel stands helpless... understanding nothing and understood by nobody, tolerated as a useful type in farce.’ (45) City life is thus something the peasant ‘receives mistrustfully and hesitatingly; though in the end he may accept these things, never is he altered in his kind thereby.’ (46) Like the flaneur the peasant thus inhabits and is himself a chora; but its other side, its negative.

Clouds1_PieniLauri and Ilona, in Drifting Clouds, can be understood as typical peasants: through sheer misfortune, in disrespect to his humanity and without any social security tram chauffeur Lauri becomes unemployed from one day to another,  as does, because the city people do not need personal, friendly service anymore, his wife, head waiter Ilona. The unemployment payments they turn down, no matter how poor they are. Work for them is not a means to participate in the monetary system, but a soil, a soul in which their entire being or Dasein is grounded. The tram is thus where Lauri can state that ‘I am me’; outside of this workplace, this ‘me’ has no place to attach or define itself to. (47) The same can be said for Ilona, who, without a restaurant to work in, without a Dasein, cannot, at least not for the time being, identify herself as a head waitress. Every time she dwells the paths and nodes, she is re-situated, from cook to dishwasher to hairdresser. What Kaurismäki emphasizes is that money, capital, is a necessary condition to spa-tidally express a city’s, or at least Helsinki’s alphabet. Without it, one cannot even sit on a couch at home, or watch TV; neither can one practice the public sphere outside by car. It is only with the capital of Ilona’s former employer Mrs. Sjöholm (Elina Salo) that Ilona and Lauri can engage again in the urban spatial and social life (but even then, of course, their restaurant is named ‘work’).

For those who do not have either the working place or the money, the home or the social life however, like M., Koistinen and to some extent Aila (Maria Heiskanen), this alphabet becomes more and more difficult to practice – especially the silent, lonely Koistinen fits the description of the uncultivated yokel: inarticulate, he is continuously ridiculed and laughed at by others, ‘acquaintances’ (in as far as he has them) and strangers alike; moreover, he inhabits a little cellar, half below the ground level (his feet firmly in the ground), whereas someone like Lindström lives in a penthouse high above it: the former is concrete, the latter abstract.

As I have already argued, these peasant-dwellers therefore construct a concrete, spatial slang, that takes itself beyond the paths and nodes, and which cannot be, indeed because it is so concrete, structured by them, into the city’s edges. I understand slang here as an alternative practice of consonants or vocals and their many different interrelations; a particular way of dwelling in a particular place, in other words. The dwelling of The Man Without a Past is again exemplary: away from the city, he settles himself in one of its edges and cultivates its soil, which is to say, his soul. Because that is the essence of the Dasein Kaurismäki envisages in these not yet abstracted margins: the concrete slang that enables one to become one not so much, like the flaneur, with the crowds, but, a peasant, with the soil, oneself, a few. By cultivating his land, and inhabiting his container house, M. appropriates an alphabet he can actually express himself in; an alphabet, in other words, he can re-appropriate, one which he is not just subjected to, but can in fact himself subject. Koistinen too only articulates his desires when hanging around Aila’s Grilli, at yet another urban wasteland. If only in his mind, he can at least ‘construct’ something there, where there isn’t anything constructed yet. These city peasants need a yet uncultivated land to work at, and to be Da. Their city is another city.

Sophronia


The architectural alphabet of the Helsinki (re)presented in Aki Kaurismäki’s ‘loser trilogy’ has no inherent ‘sense of place’. The ‘representation of space’ is so firmly, immanently structured, and so omnipresent, that it is no longer possible for the city dweller whichever figure that would be, i.e. the flaneur, the sandwichman, and so on to explore and practice the city wholly on his or her own. His or her footprints are already imprinted on the map, his or her path already laid out in all details, along this or that linear, grey-blue shop. It is only by a very alternative spatializing of the alphabet, what one could refer to as slang, that it becomes a (lived) space to people. This slang however doesn’t spatialize the common paths or nodes, districts or landmarks; it manifests itself either in between the alphabet’s primary places, or in rather unlikely amalgams or sequences of them the first are the edges, or wastelands, the second are the anachronistic, anachoristic cafés or restaurants. It is thus here, where the city looks nothing like a city at all, that, through this particular act of dwelling, the city, as a representational or lived space, and with a sense of place, is, indeed a city. The city of half-Sophronia; the city of half-Helsinki.

Tim Vermeulen (born May 20, 1983, in the Netherlands) has cultivated an interest in Aki Kaurismäki's work ever since he was first introduced to it by a Finnish friend a couple of years ago. It was perhaps the continuous Ozuesque avoidance of obvious and outspoken emotions (which, of course, makes them more poignant) in his work that first caught Vermeulen's interest.

Vermeulen has a BA in cultural history and an MA in both media and journalism and in the philosophy of arts and culture from Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Vermeulen is currently undertaking an MA in film and television studies at the University of Warwick in the UK. In October 2007, he will start studying towards a PhD at the University of Reading in the UK.

Tim's favorite Aki Kaurismäki films are Shadows in Paradise and “the too-little-reviewed and revered” I Hired a Contract Killer. He also enjoyed Lights in the Dusk, Aki Kaurismäki's latest film, very much.



Endnotes

1. M. Cieutat, M. Ciment, ‘Aki Kaurismaki. Il ne vois aucun avenir dans ce monde’ , in: Positif, no. 501 (November 2002), p. 16-19. 

2. M. Koski, ‘Aki Kaurismäki’s Politics of Nostalgia’, on: Aki Kaurismäki, Orimattila Town Library (http://www.orimattila.fi/kirjasto/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=133&Itemid=94&limit=1&limitstart=1) 

3. Cf. T. Soila, ‘The Face of a Sad Rat: The Cinematic Universe of the Kaurismäki Brothers’, Y. Tasker (ed.), Fifty Contemporary Filmmakers (London/New York: Routledge, 2002), p. 196; J. Sihvonen, ‘Between the Two: Dimensions of Space in Finnish Cinema’, M. Konstantarakos (ed.), Spaces in European Cinema, p. 167. 

4. T. Soila, pp. 196-197. 

5. Cf. H. Lefebvre,  The Dialectics of Space (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1991), pp. 38-39, more detailed, pp. 32-52; H. Lefebvre, The Urban Revolution (Minneapolis/London: University of Minnesota Press, 2003), pp. 49-53; M. De Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life trans. S. Rendall (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), pp. 91-110. 

6. K. Lynch, The Image of the City (Cambridge, Massachusetts/London: MIT Press, 1960), pp. 47-48, and, more detailed, pp. 49-83.
 
7. Cf. H. Lefebvre, The Dialectics of Space, p. 33, 38, 48-49; M. De Certeau, p. 94.
 
8. Cf. H. Lefebvre, pp. 39-42; M. De Certeau, pp. 117-118;  

9. Cf. M. De Certeau, pp. 98-99, 117; A. Merrifield, ‘Place and Space: A Lefebvrian Reconcilliation’, in: Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series, vol. 18, no. 4 (1993), pp. 520-522; E. Casey, ‘Between Geography and Philosophy: What Does it Mean to Be in the Place-World?’, in: Annals of the Association of American Geographers, vol. 91, no. 4 (2001), pp. 689-690.
 
10. M. De Certeau, p. 117.
 
11. T.G. Jordan-Bychkov, B. Bychkova-Jordan, The European Culture Area : A Systematic Geography (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002), p. 271.
 
12. K. Lynch, pp. 47, 72.
 
13. K. Lynch, pp. 47, 62, 64.
 
14. R. Shields, Places on the Margin: Alternative Geographies of Modernity (London/New York: Routledge, 1991), pp. 3-5, 260, 276.
 
15. B. Cardullo, ‘Finnish Character: An Interview with Aki Kaurismäki’, in: Film Quarterly, vol. 59, no. 4 (2006), p. 8.
 
16. G. Vincendeau, ‘Lights in the Dusk’, in: Sight & Sound, vol. 17, no. 4 (April 2007), p. 70.
 
17. J. Romney, ‘Last Exit to Helsinki. The Bleak Comedic Genius of Aki Kaurismäki, Finland’s Finest’, in Film Comment (March/April 2003), p. 44.
 
18. T. Soila, p. 198.
 
19. G. Vincendeau, p. 70.
 
20. T. Soila, p. 198.
 
21. Cf. J. Werner, Aki Kaurismäki (Mainz : Bender, 2005), pp. 64-65, 234-239.
 
22. T. Soila, p. 196.
 
23. Cf. J. Donald, Imagining the Modern City (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999), p. 14.
 
24. Cf. E. Casey, pp. 686-690; E. Casey, ‘How to Get from Space to Place in a Fairly Short Stretch of Time. Phenomenological Prolegomena’, S. Feld, K.H. Basso (eds.), Senses of Place (Santa Fe: School of American Research Press, 1996) pp. 16, 18-19, 23-32, 46.
 
25. E. Soja, Postmodern Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory (London/New York: Verso, 1989), pp. 129-130, more detailed, pp. 118-137.
 
26. Cf. P. Bourdieu, Outline of a Theory of Practice trans. R. Nice (Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1977), pp. 72-95 ; M. Foucault, The Archeology of Knowledge trans. A. Sheridan (London: Routledge, 1994), pp. 21-78; M. Foucault, Discipline and Punish. The Birth of the Prison trans. A. Sheridan (London: Penguin, 1979), pp. 200-227.
 
27. J. Donald, p. 44.
 
28. C. Baudelaire, ‘The Painter of Modern Life’, trans. J. Mayne, J. Mayne (ed.), Charles Baudelaire, The Painter of Moden Life and Other Essays (New York: Da Capo Press, 1964), pp. 8-9.
 
29. C. Baudelaire, p. 9.
 
30. Plato, Timaeus trans. F.M. Cornford (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1937) 50-52.
 
31. A. Gleber, The Art of Taking a Walk: Flanerie, Literature, and Film in Weimar Culture (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999), p. 51.
 
32. ‘The spectator ‘, Baudelaire wrote, ‘becomes the translator, so to speak, of a translation which is always clear and thrilling.’ C. Baudelaire, p. 16;
 
33. C. Baudelaire, p. 9.
 
34. W. Benjamin, ‘The Paris of the Second Empire in Baudelaire’, Charles Baudelaire. A Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capitalism, trans. H. Zohn (London: Verso, 1973) p. 53-54.
 
35. W. Benjamin, p. 36.
 
36. W. Benjamin, cit. in: S. Buck-Morss, ‘The Flaneur, the Sandwichman and the Whore: The Politics of Loitering’, in: New German Critique, vol. 39 (Autumn, 1986), p. 107.
 
37. S. Buck-Morss, p. 104.
 
38. S. Buck-Morss, p. 105.
 
39. C. Baudelaire, p. 7. Cf. W. Benjamin, p. 48.
 
40. J. Werner, p. 264.
 
41. J. Werner, p. 267.
 
42. G. Simmel, ‘The Metropolis and Mental Life’, trans. K.H. Wolff, M. Featherstone, D. Frisby (eds.), Simmel on Culture (London: Sage, 1997), pp. 176-181, 183.
 
43. O. Spengler, ‘The Soul of the City’, trans C.F. Atkinson, R. Sennet (ed.), Classic Essays on The Culture of Cities (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1969), p. 71.
 
44. O. Spengler, p. 64.
 
45. O. Spengler, p. 68, 70.
 
46. O. Spengler, p. 72.
 
47. J. Werner, p. 228.


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