Not procrastination, actually, just a break from this term paper I’m writing. Unlike my younger incarnations as a student, this time around I’m pretty good about not procrastinating. Instead, I’m getting anxious about writing this stupid paper because for some reason I feel it needs to be perfect, and of course, it can’t be, nor does it need to be. So, OK. I’m going to stop being anxious and just take this little coffee break (fika) and think about Aki Kaurismäki.

Until this weekend I think the only full-length Kaurismäki film I had seen was “Leningrad Cowboys Go America”. Not good credentials for someone who aspires to be a Finnophile (but I’ve also seen the Leningrad Cowboys live in concert, which must count for something). The DVD collection in the university library here is a bit heavy on the artsy classic Nordic filmmakers, as you might imagine, so on Saturday we randomly borrowed “Shadows in Paradise” (original Finnish title “Varjoja paratiisissa”), made in 1986, which has got to be one of the ten best films I’ve ever seen. It’s like, the perfect socialist realist love story, with absolutely deadpan humour. The stereotype about Finns is that they’re really intense and quiet, and the actors play up this stereotype really well. (The film does, however, negatively portray Swedish-Finns.) There is no unnecessary dialogue in this movie. I had to watch it again the next day.

So, now my goal in life is to see as many Kaurismäki films as possible. After I finish this paper, of course.

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