Aki Kaurismäki to be GFT's latest CineMaster

The Finnish filmmaker follows David Lynch and Martin Scorsese in Glasgow Film's rolling CineMasters series, with classics like The Match Factory Girl and The Man Without a Past screening alongside some rarely screened Kaurismäki

Feature by Jamie Dunn | 24 May 2017
  • Leningrad Cowboys Go America

The auteur theory gets a bad rap. Ever since the great New Yorker critic Pauline Kael eviscerated the notion in her angry 1963 essay Circles and Squares, many have miscatagorised the theory, first proposed by French critics in the 1950s, as meaning that the director is exclusively responsible for the artistry of a movie. Such a suggestion, of course, would ignore the collaborative nature of the medium, and the expressive work done by actors, screenwriters, cinematographers, choreographers, composers and editors. But this is a reductive argument against the theory.

Richard Brody, a current New Yorker critic, argues that “auteurism doesn’t get in the way of discussing the work of actors, screenwriters, or set designers; it adds another dimension to those discussions.” The other dimension is that it gives us a framework for exploring and understanding a whole body of work, rather than a single film, because a true auteur is an individual who clearly leaves their fingerprints – their unique personality – upon their films.

So in other words, a great filmmaker’s work becomes richer when considered in wider context with their other films; the visual style, techniques, rhythms and thematic obsessions evident across a body of work become as interesting as any individual film. The opportunity to experience films in this manner is invaluable, and that’s why the ongoing work of Glasgow Film’s CineMasters series should be cherished.

The CineMasters strand began life as a section of the Glasgow Film Festival programme “devoted to the work of some of the most accomplished, admired and influential filmmakers in the world”; the CineMasters strand at the most recent GFF included films by Francois Ozon, Paul Verhoeven, Werner Herzog, Terrence Malick and Lav Diaz. From March this year, this strand was expanded by Glasgow Film into monthly mini-retrospectives within the year-round Glasgow Film Theatre programme. So far Kelly Reichardt, Martin Scorsese, David Lynch and Rainer Werner Fassbinder have been celebrated.

The Skinny are delighted to reveal we’ll be partnering with Glasgow Film to support this vital initiative from June, and the next filmmaker to get the CineMasters treatment is one of the most original voices in modern cinema: the Finnish master of deadpan absurdism, Aki Kaurismäki.

The Match Factory Girl
The Match Factory Girl

In this time of social and political turmoil, the opportunity to explore the tragicomedies of Kaurismäki, with their heady mix of absurdity and altruism, is extremely welcome. We’ll be exploring Kaurismäki's work in full later in the week to mark the release of his brilliant new film The Other Side of Hope, winner of the Silver Bear at Berlin Festival and a firm audience favourite at GFF, but until then we’re delighted to reveal on behalf of Glasgow Film the titles screening in the Kaurismäki CineMasters season throughout June.

Delightfully, given Kaurismäki’s fondness for fat-free storytelling and brisk running times, the GFT will be screening a Kaurismäki short along with the six feature films in the series. That’s a full dozen helpings of work by this deadpan Finnish genius. So slap some Brylcreem on your bonce, fire up the rockabilly on your crumbling Cadillac, maybe knock back a vodka or two, and settle in for a whole month of cock-a-hoop Finnish humanism.

CineMasters: Aki Kaurismäki

The Man Without a Past
The Man Without a Past

Ariel (1988) (preceded by short Thru The Wire, 1987) – Mon 5 (6.05pm) & Wed 7 Jun (3.15pm); buy tickets

Leningrad Cowboys Go America (1989) (preceded by short Rocky VI, 1986) – Mon 12 (6.40pm) & Wed 14 Jun (4pm); buy tickets

The Match Factory Girl (1990) (preceded by short Those Were The Days, 1992) – Mon 19 (6.30pm) & Wed 21 Jun (4pm); buy tickets

Drifting Clouds (1996) (preceded by short These Boots, 1993) – Mon 26 (8.20pm) & Wed 28 Jun (3pm); buy tickets

The Man Without a Past (2002) (preceded by short Dogs Have No Hell, 2002) – Mon 3 (8.30pm) & Wed 5 Jul (3.30pm); buy tickets

Le Havre (2011) (preceded by short Valimo, 2007) – Mon 10 (8.30pm) & Wed 12 Jul (3.30pm); buy tickets

Tickets go on sale on 25 May at glasgowfilm.org; multi-buy ticket discounts will be available