Sunday, August 12, 2012

Extremely Benign

Aki Kaurismäki seems unable to make a film that isn’t described by critics as “deadpan.” Even the back of the DVD for Kaurismäki’s latest, Le Havre (out recently from the redoubtable Criterion Collection), can’t resist calling it a “charming, deadpan delight.” But I think that the D-word – which usually suggests a detached, unemotional humor (cf. the work of Kaurismaki’s friend and contemporary, Jim Jarmusch) – isn’t exactly apt in the case of Le Havre. Barely concealed under its poker face is a wistful utopian dream.