26 June 2012
watch at rialto: le havre
Turning his attention to the world of cinema, Andrew Reinhold’s reviews the modern day fable, Le Havre.
Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki makes a welcome return to the big screen with Le Havre which delivers his trademark dry humour, wildly colourful characterisation and child-like simplicity in spades.
Set in the French port of Le Havre, the film follows the unambitious life of Marcel, who shines shoes during the day and at night returns home to his doting wife Arletty. Marcel’s life is turned on its head when at first Arletty falls gravely ill and then when he becomes very wittingly involved in a young illegal immigrant from Gabon called Idrissa.
With the police hot on his heels thanks to his distasteful nosey neighbour, Marcel must use all his wit to keep Idrissa from the clutches of the local authorities and send him safely on his way to be reunited with his mother in London while at the same time cope without the strong guidance and order that Arletty brings to his life.
Tough Inspector Monet – forever breathing down Marcel’s neck – is one of the film’s many highlights and the scene when he enters the local bar frequented by Marcel clutching a pineapple really is comedy gold.
Elsewhere there is even time for Kaurismaki to indulge in an altogether more dubious (but no less amusing) homage to French rock’n’roll with a guest appearance by legendary Elvis wannabe Robert Piazza aka ‘Little Bob’.
A damning criticism of Western Europe’s attitude towards refugees from the developing world, Le Havre is also a love letter to principles of honesty, respect for your fellow man and the power of community.
A modern day fable, this is a must see movie that you will find impossible not to find beauty in.
Le Havre is currently screening at Rialto cinemas.