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Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismaki has always been free from a particular pressure of the modern world: the pressure to grow and change. You know, the one where we have to make more money, be better looking and forever fit, and go on better vacations than the Joneses (or Suzukis) and post the pictures on Facebook. None of that stuff exists in the world of Aki Kaurismaki.

With his name on over 30 titles since the 1980s, Kaurismaki has stuck to drawing tired, creased, working-class underdogs in low-rent surroundings, usually residing in some Northern European factory town. Nothing glamorous, profitable or sexy ever happens in a Kaurismaki story, and the director’s favorite leading lady, Kati Outinen, has a face so sad that if the Little Match Girl had survived until middle age, Outinen would be her.

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