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Hitting bottom: Aki Kaurismäki and the abject subject

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This article uses a number of recent European films to forward arguments concerning European transnational cinema as well as post-national societies. Particular focus is placed on Aki Kaurismäki’s film The Man without a Past (2002), which is seen as a serious, comic and subversive contribution to the debate about the nature of European governmentality in times when there is little room for solidarity or kinship loyalty. The Man without a Past is looked at across three possible intersecting frames of reference, tentatively referred to as social romanticism, a social parable of our time, and the ability to look at a given situation from outside without stepping outside. Together these frames allow an understanding of Kaurismäki’s analysis of contemporary society and his construction of a hero, who combines great humanity and humility and makes his otherness the very basis of a new kind of community.

Keywords: Aki Kaurismäki; European cinema; Mies vailla menneisyyttä/The Man without a Past; community; double occupancy; transnational cinema

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Amsterdam

Publication date: October 15, 2010

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  • The Journal of Scandinavian Cinema is a new scholarly journal devoted to film in the Scandinavian countries. It aims to become the prime site for excellent research and engaging discussions on cinema in Scandinavia, both within the national context of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, and as a region existing in a globalized world.
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