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Le Havre (PG)

Comedy, Drama

When an African boy arrives by cargo ship in the port city of Le Havre, an aging shoe shiner takes pity on the child and welcomes him into his home.

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The critical consensus

In Kaurismaki’s hands, it’s not only grimly funny, but the proceedings are given a glorious stylistic makeover, courtesy of the filmmaker’s love of 1950s kitsch, which here expresses itself in a homage to the Technicolor romantic dramas of Douglas Sirk.

****(*)Miles Fielder, The List, 19/03/2012

Kaurismäki adeptly weaves rockabilly musical interludes, a stylised colourscheme and droll performances into a warm-hearted salute to both classical French cinema and working-class solidarity.

****(*)Tom Dawson, Total Film, 26/03/2012

Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki fashions a droll, engaging fairytale, with echoes of Casablanca in its colourful, close-knit Normandaise resistance and even a wry, ambiguous police inspector.

****(*)Siobhan Synnot, The Scotsman, 01/04/2012

It may not be up there with his very best, but Aki Kaurismäki offers a reminder that he's a still one of the freshest voices in cinema.

***(*)(*)Guy Lodge, Empire Online, 03/04/2012

Though Kuarismaki unusually uses the subject matter to serve up quite pointed political critiques of the issues underlying the story, he again eschews harsh social realism in favour of a gentler vision of working-class life to create another fable in which human decency, against the odds, has a chance to thrive.

***(*)(*)Alistair Harkness, The Scotsman, 05/04/2012

Kaurismäki clearly knows this is a fantasy, and it’s a perfectly pleasant one at that.

***(*)(*)Robbie Collin, The Telegraph, 05/04/2012

It's a satisfying and distinctively lovable film.

***(*)(*)Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, 05/04/2012

A gorgeous hymn to the struggles of the working man.

****(*)David Jenkins, Little White Lies, 05/04/0212

Le Havre is heavy on whimsy, with the comedy played either very gently or too broad. An acquired taste.

***(*)(*)Alison Rowat, The Herald, 05/04/2012

Only in the character of an enigmatic police inspector do we sense the director's engagement with something more complex than a rousing "we are the world".

Anthony Quinn, The Independent, 06/04/2012

The intricately woven tale of hide and seek is full of priceless, poker-faced comedy and heartrending tenderness.

****(*)Allan Hunter, Daily Express, 06/04/2012

The movie is a homage to French cinema, shot and acted in the flat, carefully composed style of Bresson and celebrating les petits gens, those kindly ordinary people who populate the poetic, popular-front movies of the 1930s associated with Renoir, Clair and Carné.

Philip French, The Observer, 08/04/2012

Kaurismäki’s film embodies a deep sense of solidarity as he’s able to create a relationship not only with his actors, but is also able to emotionally connect with those on the other side of the screen.

****(*)Sarah Findlay, TV Bomb, 10/04/2012

Features about Le Havre (PG)

Aki Kaurismaki's Le Havre is like all his other work and thank goodness for that

John Patterson, The Guardian, 31/03/2012

Le Havre (PG)

Where and when?

Edinburgh Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Friday April 6, 2012, until Thursday April 26, 2012. More info:

Glasgow Film Theatre, Glasgow from Friday April 6, 2012, until Thursday April 19, 2012. More info:

General release. Check local listings for show times.

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