"Le Havre": Utopian Vision of Refugees in France Is Sadly Illusory

Location Info

Map

Clay Theatre

2261 Fillmore
San Francisco, CA 94115

Category: Movie Theaters

Region: Haight/ Fillmore

Details

Not rated. Opens Friday at the Clay.

Related Stories

More About

Aki Kaurismäki's Le Havre is something of a comeback for the Finnish filmmaker. His warmhearted comedy of underdog working-class solidarity, made with a mixed Finnish-French-Senegalese cast in the French port city Le Havre, was the most warmly received movie — at least by the press — shown last May in Cannes. The French setting seems to have leavened Kaurismäki's morose humor. Le Havre (which means "the haven" in French) envisions a new, post-communist international. The movie's pointedly named protagonist Marcel Marx (André Wilms) is a middle-aged shoe-shine boy with a weathered, noble profile, an upstanding wife Arletty (Kati Outinen), a faithful dog, and a natural belief in fraternité. Marcel's opportunity for comradely action comes when he meets a young Senegalese boy (Blondin Miguel), who was separated from his stowaway family en route to London and is being sought by the French authorities as an illegal alien. Despite the complication of Arletty's terminal illness, the snooping of grim-faced inspector Monet (Jean-Pierre Darroussin), and the machinations of the neighborhood snitch (Jean-Pierre Léaud), Marcel is able rally the denizens of Le Havre's old fishermen's quarter to the boy's aid, complete with a "trendy charity concert." "The loveliest dream bears like a blemish its difference from reality, the awareness that what it grants is mere illusion," Theodor Adorno wrote of Kafka's Amerika — an immigrant saga that Kaurismäki pointedly cites in the movie. So too this evocation of Europe's refugee problem; Le Havre is utopian precisely because it shows everything as it is not.

 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
 

Now Showing

Find capsule reviews, showtimes & tickets for all films in town.

Powered By VOICE Places

Box Office

Scores provided by Rotten Tomatoes

Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, film info & more!

©2014 SF Weekly, LP, All rights reserved.
Loading...