Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Aki Kaurismäki

Aki Olavi Kaurismäki (1957, Orimattila, Finland) is a screenwriter and film director.  
After studying Media Studies at the University of Tampere, Aki Kaurismäki started his career as a co-director in the films of his elder brother Mika Kaurismäki. His debut as an independent director was Crime and Punishment (1983), Dostoyevsky's famous crime story set in modern-day Helsinki. He gained worldwide notice with his movie Leningrad Cowboys Go America.
Kaurismäki, with beret, in the shooting of Le Havre
His movies have a unique downplayed humorous side that can also be seen in the films of Jim Jarmusch.
In terms of awards, Kaurismäki's most successful movie has been The Man Without a Past. It won the Grand Prix and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Language Film category in 2003. However, Kaurismäki refused to attend the gala, noting that he didn't particularly feel like partying in a nation that is currently in a state of war. Kaurismäki's next film Lights in the Dusk was also chosen to be Finland's nominee in the category for best foreign film. Kaurismäki again decided to boycott the Awards and refused the nomination as a protest against U.S. President George W. Bush's foreign policy.
In 2003, in one of his most famous protests, Kaurismäki boycotted the 40th New York Film Festival as a show of solidarity with Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami who was not given a US visa in time for the festival.

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