Neil Young’s Film Lounge – The Man Without a Past



Mies Vailla Menneisyytta : Finland 2002 : Aki Kaurismaki : 97 mins

Moments after a middle-aged man (Markku Peltola) arrives in Helsinki by train, he’s attacked and left for dead by baseball-bat-wielding thieves. In hospital he apparently dies from his injuries but then jumps off his death-bed, his memory a complete blank, and starts a whole new life from scratch. Existing in very Finnish zone between film noir, fairytale cartoon, David Lynch, and morality play, Kaurismakis latest is a typically whimsical, stylised, deadpan comedy, played after that startlingly violent opening at a seductively gentle pace. With the exception of the murderous thugs, Kaurismaki is clearly in love with everyone on screen but thankfully manages to avoid any trace of sentimental gloop, delivering instead a genuinely delightful romantic fable set to a cracking soundtrack of 50s-flavoured rockabilly-ish hits.

30th November, 2002
(seen 26th November, Tyneside Cinema)

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by Neil Young