The cinematographic work of
Aki Kaurismäki
as director

Photo of Aki (23kB)


- The Saimaa Gesture (1981)

- Crime and Punishment (1983)

Frank's last cigarette - Calamari Union (1984)
  Frank, Frank, Frank, ... and Frank decide that they have to leave. They start a long and dangerous journey to the other end of the city. But none of them makes his way there.
with Matti Pellonpää and others

- Rocky VI (1986)
  Short film boxing drama with Cowboys music

- Shadows in Paradise (1986) Shadows in Paradise (8kB)
  Dustman Nikander leads a boring life until he learns to know Ilona
with Matti Pellonpää, Kati Outinen, Saku Kuosmanen

Hamlet goes Business (14kB) - Hamlet goes Business (1987) 86 min.
  Adaption of Shakespeare, Intrigues around the heir of the Finnish monopol for rubber duck production
with Pirkka-Pekka Petelius, Esko Salminen, Kati Outinen

- Thru the Wire (1987) 5 min.
  Short film/Music video with/for the Cowboys song

- Ariel (1988) 70 min. Ariel (6kB)
  Miner Taisto leaves his depressive home town and goes to the big city. He gets locked in prison, flees with Mikkonen, and wants to immigrate with Irmeli.
with Turo Pajala, Susanna Haavisto, Matti Pellonpää

- Likaiset kädet (1989)

Leningrad Cowboys (7kB) - Leningrad Cowboys go America (1989) 76 min.
The worst band of the world goes to America (as the title suggests), because over there, they take every shit. When they arrive, they go on the road (and improve)
with Matti Pellonpää, Kari Väänänen, Sakke Järvenpää and the Leningrad Cowboys

- Match Factory Girl (1989) 64 min. Match Factory Girl (7kB)
  Iris leads a lonely, hopeless life, when she meets a man at a disco. But it would not be a Kaurismäki movie, if this did not bring more misfortune.
with Kati Outinen, Elina Salo, Esko Nikkari, Vesa Vierikko, Reijo Taipale

- Dirty Hands (1989)

Contract Killer (6kB) - I hired a Contract Killer (1990) 77 min.
  Henri gets fired and wants to end his life. But after he hired a contract killer, he falls in love with Margaret. Will he escape the killer...?
with Jean-Pierre Léaud, Margi Clarke, Joe Strummer, Kenneth Colley

- Those were the Days (1990)
  Short film/Music video

- La Vie de Bohème (1992) 99 min. Boheme 1 (11kB)
  Adaption of Murgers drama with three artists living and loving in a Bohemian way in today's Paris
with Matti Pellonpää, André Wilms, Kari Väänänen, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Sam Fuller
Boheme 2 (20kB)

- These Boots (1992)
  Short film/Music video

- Leningrad Cowboys meet Moses (1993)
  Second episode of the Cowboys' quest for audience. This time back in/all over Europe.
with Matti Pellonpää, André Wilms, Leningrad Cowboys

-Take Care of your Scarf, Tatjana (1994) 60 min. Tatjana (10 kB)
  Two friends aimless on the road, just to escape of their normal lives.
with Matti Pellonpää, Kati Outinen, Mato Valtonen, Kirsi Tykkyläinen
Film poster(61 kB)

- Total Balalaika Show (1994)
  Recording of the enormous Cowboys gig at Helsinki

Drifting Clouds (6 kB) - Drifting Clouds (1996) 96 min.
  Aki said, that someone had to make an optimistic film about the presence and as noone did it, he turned this movie. A couple gets fired, is on a downward spiral, but is able to recover in the end.
with Kati Outinen, Kari Väänänen, Sakari Kuosmanen, Elina Salo, Markku Peltola

- News from 1998:
  Meanwhile, Aki is working on a rather short film called Juha. This film, scheduled for release in spring 1999, and his words about this film are: "My film Juha is based on the novel by Juhani Aho. It is silent. That is to say: The novel is not silent, but the film, an adaptio of the author's work, is furnished with music. It also contains other noises, but the dialogue is disclosed in so-called captions. It is a triangular drama. The film is tragic."
with Sakari Kuosmanen, Kati Outinen, André Wilms, Esko Nikkari, Elina Salo, Markku Peltola, Ona Kamu, Outi Mäenpää, Helka Viljanen

- Juha (1999)
  Juha is out and I've seen it in April '99. Juha is not as short as anticipated last year. Juha is a somewhat silent movie, accompanied by music like in films of the early stages of this century. Only a few noises of the film can be heard (e.g. when the car drives away).
The story goes as follows: A farmer with a stiff knee lives with his young, beautiful wife on the countryside of their income resulting from selling agricultural products. They lead a happy, satisfied life until a dandy from the city has a breakdown with his sports car right in front of the farm. While the farmer cares for the car and repairs it, the dandy wants to seduce the wife, but she neglects him and refuses to come with him despite all his promises of a better life of luxury in the city. The next day, the car is fixed and the dandy leaves the couple. Not long afterwards, the wife regrets her decision and starts dreaming of the attractive, young man. Her chance comes when the dandy returns to take her with him and this time she leaves the countryside. She spends some extraordinary nice time with her new love, but when they arrive in the city, she gets confused. She finds herself as one of his multiple women and is forced to work for him, either by cleaning the établissement or by using her female attraction towards men (clear?!). She refuses to sell herself in the latter way and prefers to go the hard way. Soon afterwards, she has to face the fact that she is pregnant and she regrets to have left her husband.
The farmer meanwhile tried to get back his wife with the help of a local police officer, but noone can help him. His rank in the rural society decreases rapidly and he is very lonely. Somewhen his mental pain becomes too heavy and he packs what he thinks he needs to take revenge. He travels to the city by bus, always with his axe in his rucksack. He knows where to go and bashes people away who try to stand in his way. Finally he faces his target, but the dandy is better equipped: He has a gun and shoots our hero. Being a tough guy from the countryside, he does not fall immediately, but he keeps standing on his feet and urges the dandy to retreat until there is no way to retreat. He uses his axe and slaughters the evil, frees his wife and the young born baby and sends them back home to the farm. He himself is badly wounded and chooses his end deliberately. He uses the subway to get to the suburbian dump and dies in front of a caterpillar.

This dump end seems to be a favourite of Aki; in "Ariel", the wounded hero's last wish is as well being buried on a dump. Does anybody know whether this really is a Finnish ritual or just the humour of the director? ;-)
with Sakari Kuosmanen, Kati Outinen, André Wilms, Esko Nikkari, Elina Salo, Markku Peltola, Ona Kamu, Outi Mäenpää, Helka Viljanen

- The Man without a Past (2002) Man without a Past (6 kB)
  A man comes to the big town and gets mugged and beaten up bitterly. (Remember Ariel?). He awakes in a hospital and does not know who he is. Without any money and any id cards, he has to learn to live again.
with Markku Peltola, Kati Outinen

Lights in the Dusk (25 kB)

- Lights in the Dusk (2006)
  Story to be added...
with Janne Hyytiäinen, Maria Järvenhelmi, Maria Heiskanen, Ilkka Koivula and others

- Le Havre (2011)
Le Havre (41 kB)
  Story to be added...
with André Wilms, Kati Outinen, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Laika and others

Other Side of Hope (25 kB)

- The other Side of Hope (2017)
  Probably the last film by Aki
with Sherwan Haji, Sakari Kuosmanen, Ilkka Koivula, Janne Hyytiäinen, Nuppu Koivu, Kati Outinen and others

Other cinematographic work that Aki is related to:
(Thanks to Hermanni Virtanen for your contribution!!)

- The Liar (1980) script
- The Worthless (1981) script
- Bad Trip (1994)
- Village (1996) production

Great Kaurismäki website can be found at
or a new one looks very promising

This list is for sure incomplete; if you know amendments send me an e-mail

On July the 13th of 1995, Matti Pellonpää died of heart failure at the age of only 44.

I will never forget his appearances!

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© sucks, so no © by Oliver Schubert, but noone would like to copy that anyway . . .
started in '95
last modified on 7/8/2020