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I almost forgot how enjoyable and light-hearted Kaurismäki is, despite his tendency to show not very  happy people get involved in not very jolly situations. Admittedly, I lost him out of sight since around “I Hired a Contract Killer”, without ever being disappointed by one of his films. Maybe it is because other films have tried to emulate and duplicate his stoic approach  to arthouse, turned this specific category of slightly artificial play and dialogue into a mannerism and covered the whole genre with slightly too much saccharine, burying the original Finnish R.W. Fassbinder underneath as a collateral? Or not, I am not sure. In any case, I felt right at home again when meeting his strange hero Mr Marx, with strange and sick wife and strange relationship to strange neighbours. A very joyful set of odd characters populate this film, the oddest maybe being the Inspector investigating the case of an escaped African refugee boy – a mixture of the inspector from Fantomas, a Grey Man from Momo and the Tintin inspectors whose names I keep forgetting. So: refugee, warm-hearted strange shoe polisher, neighbor baker woman, vegetable salesman and a bunch of guys hanging out at the local bar and look like the sisters of the Rolling Stones’ parents… oh yes, and the unavoidable musical homage, in this case to some very very very irritating-looking stage hero called “Little Bob”… what’s to be said: there is no reason not to watch Kaurismäki’s movies, it is thoroughly enjoyable and uplifting, even in French …!

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/le_havre_2011/

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