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In what he intends to be a trilogy of movies set in ports, the Finnish moviemaker Aki Kaurismäki turns his affectionate, whimsical eye on the impoverished but generous folk of a run-down, waterfront community in the Normandy port of Le Havre. Led by the emblematically named Marcel Marx (André Wilms), a one-time bohemian who has given up novel-writing to work as a shoeshine boy, these outsiders protect a Congolese teenager in flight from the authorities after escaping from a container taking him and other refugees to London.

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. One of the characters is called Arletty, and a benevolent local detective dresses like a cop in a Melville thriller. Nouvelle Vague star Jean-Pierre Léaud and Pierre Etaix –, comedy director, Tati associate and actor in Bresson's Pickpocket – have walk-on roles.

Review by Philip French, The Observer

1st December 2017

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Starring

Andre Wilms

Kati Outinen

Jean-Pierre Darroussin

Blondin Miguel

Elina Salo

Evelyne Didi













Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

Cast list

Photo
as

Marcel Marx

Arletty

Monet

Idrissa

Claire

Yvette



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