For the past few years, the Sydney Film Festival hasn't just served up a feast of new and awesome cinema. Collaborating with David Stratton, it has also shone a spotlight on a great auteur — you know, the kind of filmmaker responsible for movies that no one else could make. Martin Scorsese and Akira Kurosawa have previously been in the spotlight, and now it's Aki Kaurismäki's turn, with the fest showcasing the work of the great Finnish director.
While the cinema of Finland isn't a common presence on Australian screens, Kaurismäki's work is, whether he's telling a tale of an amnesiac in The Man Without a Past, exploring life in a French port city in Le Havre or contemplating the refugee crisis in The Other Side of Hope. With the latter only getting a general release on our shores this year, the first two aforementioned flicks lead the charge in this 10-title retrospective.
Throughout the festival's run from June 6 to 17, other highlights include Kaurismäki's debut Crime and Punishment, an updating of Dostoevsky's novel; Leningrad Cowboys Go America, which follows a fictional band on the road; and Drifting Clouds, a movie widely considered to be the one Kaurismäki flick to see if you're only going to see one of his flicks. Sessions will screen at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Dendy Opera Quays, showering films buffs with Finnish deadpan with an empathetic heart — plus plenty of dogs, one of the filmmaker's trademarks.