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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 2:13 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2008 1:47 pm
This is why I don't understand why someone's intro to a filmmaker has to start with his "easy" (read: mainstream friendly) films. As with all filmmakers with "different" sensibilities, I always ask: why in the world would you want to watch something familiar when you specifically went to seek out a filmmaker to try something UNFAMILIAR?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 2:30 pm 
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jojo wrote:
This is why I don't understand why someone's intro to a filmmaker has to start with his "easy" (read: mainstream friendly) films. As with all filmmakers with "different" sensibilities, I always ask: why in the world would you want to watch something familiar when you specifically went to seek out a filmmaker to try something UNFAMILIAR?

Well, if you want to start with something completely off the wall, try Calamari Union!

I don't disagree with your basic point, and in Kaurismäki's case his films are so sui generis that it really doesn't matter where you start - but The Match Factory Girl is so stripped down to its barest essentials that it may well turn as many newcomers off as otherwise. I was by no means a Kaurismäki virgin when I watched it the first time (it was my fourth or fifth), but I only really "got" it when I revisited it a few years ago.

And another argument against starting with that film is that if you end up loving it because of its ultra-essentialist approach (as Kaurismäki said at the time, "I wanted to make a film that would make Robert Bresson look like a director of epic action pictures"), you might well be disappointed with the rest!


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:02 pm 

Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2008 7:03 pm
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jojo wrote:
Well, if you want to start with something completely off the wall, try Calamari Union!

Calamari Union was my first Kaurismäki film. I find it remarkably simple, easy to get into, and wonderful. The first scene where one of the Franks read their reasons for leaving aloud is simply breathtaking. The whole film reminds me of Beckett's Waiting for Godot in a way, with the differnce that they arrive only to find that they've "come to late".


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:07 pm 
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And one might also note that Calmari Union also is a visually gorgeous film


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 2:56 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 10:02 am
Having watched all of these (my intro to Kaurismaki), the one moment that clings to my memory is the car roof in Ariel. Somehow, it's one of the most remarkable cinematic moments I've ever seen, simultaneously breathtaking and hilarious, and it does that with the most pedestrian tools. Ariel may be my favorite, solely by the merit of that one scene, although I enjoyed all three films. I actually want to watch them all again, already, which is very rare for me. I usually hold off on re-watching indefinitely, for weeks at the earliest.

I intend to buy the AE sets soon, hopefully they'll go on sale someplace. I'm visiting Finland in a few months, and I'd like to see more before I go, although who knows what I'll think of Finnish people by the time I get used to Kaurismaki's version of them.

Any recommendations on other Finnish directors? Not necessarily linked to Kaurismaki in any way, aside from being Finnish, I'm just interested in what might be available in general. I stumbled across mention of a film (Helsinki, Forever) on Rosenbaum's blog just a few minutes ago. May look into that.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 4:05 am 
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I've finally scraped this particular scab off my kevyip, on doctor's orders, and am so glad I have. I'm not sure he succeeds in making Bresson look like Bay, but these films reveal a marvelous cinematic style and I hope to see as much of his work as I can.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 12:39 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 6:10 pm
Location: Finland
karmajuice wrote:
Having watched all of these (my intro to Kaurismaki), the one moment that clings to my memory is the car roof in Ariel. Somehow, it's one of the most remarkable cinematic moments I've ever seen, simultaneously breathtaking and hilarious, and it does that with the most pedestrian tools. Ariel may be my favorite, solely by the merit of that one scene, although I enjoyed all three films. I actually want to watch them all again, already, which is very rare for me. I usually hold off on re-watching indefinitely, for weeks at the earliest.

I intend to buy the AE sets soon, hopefully they'll go on sale someplace. I'm visiting Finland in a few months, and I'd like to see more before I go, although who knows what I'll think of Finnish people by the time I get used to Kaurismaki's version of them.

Any recommendations on other Finnish directors? Not necessarily linked to Kaurismaki in any way, aside from being Finnish, I'm just interested in what might be available in general. I stumbled across mention of a film (Helsinki, Forever) on Rosenbaum's blog just a few minutes ago. May look into that.

His brother Mika Kaurismäki has made movies as well, among them Tigrero, the documentary about Samuel Fuller's cancelled movie. Apart from both Kaurismäki brothers, I wouldn't really recommend many other finnish movies/directors, at least not in the past 20-25 years. Generally I don't like Finnish movies, even though I'm a finn myself.

There are couple exceptions, such as "Joki" (The River) made in the 2001, which has six stories interwining on one saturday in the small town, not much unlike Magnolia or Altman's Shortcuts. Also Talvisota (Winterwar) made in the 1989 is a great war movie, which one could compare to the German movie Stalingrad. Many of the Finnish people likes Tuntematon Sotilas (The Unknonwn Soldier), but it's way too heroic, lighthearted, patriotic, and unrealistic depiction of the war for me.

Joki is available in the USA in DVD, but sadly, apparently the full lenght version of Talvisota is only available in the scandinavia, it was released in the USA as an about hour shorter version (195 min vs. 125 min), and as pan & scanned 4:3 (OAR should be 1.66:1).


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 12:49 pm 
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Mika Kaurismäki's films are out on Bluebell Films in the UK - the three I've seen (The Liar, Zombie and the Ghost Train, Tigrero) have no problems with presentation or transfer.

He's clearly less talented than his little brother, but they equally clearly share many interests, a similar sense of humour, and the same pool of actors - Aki's favourite leading man Matti Pellonpää comprehensively steals the otherwise meandering Zombie and the Ghost Train as a Finnish C&W singer.

These were my Sight & Sound capsule reviews:

Quote:
The Liar
Mika Kaurismäki; Finland/West Germany 1981; Bluebell Films/Region 2; Certificate 12; 51 minutes; Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 anamorphic; Features: ‘Jackpot 2’ short, interview, director biography

Zombie & the Ghost Train
Mika Kaurismäki, Finland 1991; Bluebell Films/Region 2; Certificate 15; 107 minutes; Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 anamorphic; Features: trailer, interview, director biography

Films: Although younger brother Aki has grabbed the lion’s share of the attention over the past three decades, Mika Kaurismäki has been equially prolific, and if the evidence here suggests he’s comfortably the lesser talent, there’s still much to enjoy. The Liar was his graduation project, explaining its brevity, the presence of Aki as an unexpectedly garrulous lead (the title refers to his compulsive fantasising), and the self-conscious use of both black-and-white and numerous visual and verbal quotations from French New Wave classics (especially Godard’s Bande à part). At the time it was considered a bold new direction for Finnish cinema, though now it’s far more interesting for revealing that many of the stylistic and thematic preoccupations of both Kaurismäkis were present even at this embryonic stage. The laidback, often very funny quasi-road movie Zombie & the Ghost Train also revolves around an aimless drifter, but in this case his demeanour matches his nickname. Constantly buffeted by friends, family and authorities alike, it’s little wonder that the hapless Zombie ends up fleeing to Istanbul - especially after the film that bears his name is comprehensively stolen by the much-missed Aki regular Matti Pellonpää as the Stetson-toting lead singer of Finnish C&W band Harri and the Mulefukkers.

Discs: The anamorphic transfers are excellent, a particularly pleasant surprise in the case of the bargain-basement The Liar. Subtitles are clear and optional. Both discs feature short interviews with Mika Kaurismäki reminiscing about the films’ production, while The Liar also includes the 35-minute Jackpot 2 (1982), which turns out to be the most ambitious and original film on these discs. It’s set in a Helsinki ruined after some devastating incident, where the indolent inhabitants seem more interested in clinging on to simple pleasures (especially pinball) than worrying about survival. Pellonpää is one again the standout, this time as a raffish poet. (October 2008)

Tigrero - A Film That Was Never Made
Mika Kaurismäki; Finland/Germany/Brazil 1994; Bluebell Films/Region 2; 73 minutes; Aspect Ratio 1.74:1 anamorphic

Film: In the 1950s, Samuel Fuller planned to shoot a florid John Wayne/Ava Gardner/Tyrone Power vehicle and made a reconnaissance trip to the Brazilian jungle complete with camera. Insurance issues torpedoed the project and the footage was shelved (aside from a few hallucinatory moments in 1963’s Shock Corridor), but in the early 1990s Fuller returned to Brazil to track down the locations and even some of the people he filmed, with Jim Jarmusch as his Sancho Panza. With Fuller in cigar-chomping motormouth mode, Jarmusch has little to do except enjoy a stream of anecdotes delivered with all the pith and vim that one would expect from a former tabloid reporter, fleshing out the footage with accounts of what he would have done with it (though a proposed bird-alligator-piranha-bird circular food-chain sounds as though it would challenge even David Attenborough’s team). It’s also oddly moving, with the octogenarian Fuller jokily promising to return in another 40 years.

Disc: The anamorphic transfer is fine, though Fuller’s original footage is inescapably faded. (December 2008)


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 4:06 pm 
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Location: Finland
Jarpie wrote:
karmajuice wrote:
Having watched all of these (my intro to Kaurismaki), the one moment that clings to my memory is the car roof in Ariel. Somehow, it's one of the most remarkable cinematic moments I've ever seen, simultaneously breathtaking and hilarious, and it does that with the most pedestrian tools. Ariel may be my favorite, solely by the merit of that one scene, although I enjoyed all three films. I actually want to watch them all again, already, which is very rare for me. I usually hold off on re-watching indefinitely, for weeks at the earliest.

I intend to buy the AE sets soon, hopefully they'll go on sale someplace. I'm visiting Finland in a few months, and I'd like to see more before I go, although who knows what I'll think of Finnish people by the time I get used to Kaurismaki's version of them.

Any recommendations on other Finnish directors? Not necessarily linked to Kaurismaki in any way, aside from being Finnish, I'm just interested in what might be available in general. I stumbled across mention of a film (Helsinki, Forever) on Rosenbaum's blog just a few minutes ago. May look into that.

His brother Mika Kaurismäki has made movies as well, among them Tigrero, the documentary about Samuel Fuller's cancelled movie. Apart from both Kaurismäki brothers, I wouldn't really recommend many other finnish movies/directors, at least not in the past 20-25 years. Generally I don't like Finnish movies, even though I'm a finn myself.

There are couple exceptions, such as "Joki" (The River) made in the 2001, which has six stories interwining on one saturday in the small town, not much unlike Magnolia or Altman's Shortcuts. Also Talvisota (Winterwar) made in the 1989 is a great war movie, which one could compare to the German movie Stalingrad. Many of the Finnish people likes Tuntematon Sotilas (The Unknonwn Soldier), but it's way too heroic, lighthearted, patriotic, and unrealistic depiction of the war for me.

Joki is available in the USA in DVD, but sadly, apparently the full lenght version of Talvisota is only available in the scandinavia, it was released in the USA as an about hour shorter version (195 min vs. 125 min), and as pan & scanned 4:3 (OAR should be 1.66:1).

Jarpie somehow left out that there are two Tuntematon sotilas films, one directed by Edvin Laine in the fifties which is considered as a classic which is shown on tv every year on our independence day (and it really isn't a patriotic film in a flag waving sense: it's more like a description of war from the ordinary soldiers point of view without heroes) and one made in the eighties by Rauni Mollberg which divides opinions. I, for one, think it is a masterpiece and even better than the original film. It is not a remake of the previous film but more like a different version of our greatest novel depicting our latest wars. It really captures the original left wing spirit of Väinö Linna's work and has very surreal and horror-like details in it. Talvisota instead is not a great film but a pretty dull one with fine special effects. Pohjanmaa is a much better piece by the same director, Pekka Parikka.

Mollberg in general is very recommended, so is Risto Jarva. His last film The Year of the Hare is a loved classic which gathers about million viewers every time it is shown on tv, which is not bad in a country with a population of five million. Mikko Niskanen's films and especially his four hour masterpiece Eight Deadly Shots are essential parts of our cinema. Other directors from the 60s and onwards (after our new wave): Jörn Donner (also a film critic and a writer), Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Aku Louhimies (propably the most popular Finnish director nowadays), Pirjo Honkasalo, Jarmo Lampela and Åke Lindman (81 years actor, director and screenwriter, still directing). Some of the older masters include Matti Kassila (the fantastic inspector Palmu films), Erik Blomberg, Nyrki Tapiovaara, Valentin Vaala, and Teuvo Tulio (our master of melodrama). Spede Pasanen and Ere Kokkonen were very productive film directors and producers which weren't (and aren't) appreciated by critics but loved by the "ordinary folk". Their comedy Uuno Turhapuro armeijan leivissä (Numbskull Emptybrook in the Army) was seen in it's original run by 750 000 movie goers. Most of their films are cheaply made comedies with childish and innocent humor.

edit. By not liking our films made in the past 25 years, Jarpie propably shows the sad attitude especially the young Finns have which arises usually from the shame about our "vulgaric" language which isn't considered as "cinematic" and the angst and melancholy usually linked to our films and our art in general. Melancholy is not cool and is not considered media sexy enough. I, myself, strongly oppose the phenomenon of the past few year's where most of the successful Finnish films mimick aspects usually known from Hollywood films (fast and jumpy cinematography and editing, popular rock music and overtly sentimental score music as a soundtrack, grey and dull digital look...) which has, anyway, been in great favor of our youth as opposed to more Kaurismäki-like film making. Anyway, our cinema is not filled with superb masterpieces every year but there are still quite good and worthy films to watch in every decade.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:08 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 6:10 pm
Location: Finland
Quote:
Jarpie somehow left out that there are two Tuntematon sotilas films, one directed by Edvin Laine in the fifties which is considered as a classic which is shown on tv every year on our independence day (and it really isn't a patriotic film in a flag waving sense: it's more like a description of war from the ordinary soldiers point of view without heroes) and one made in the eighties by Rauni Mollberg which divides opinions. I, for one, think it is a masterpiece and even better than the original film. It is not a remake of the previous film but more like a different version of our greatest novel depicting our latest wars. It really captures the original left wing spirit of Väinö Linna's work and has very surreal and horror-like details in it. Talvisota instead is not a great film but a pretty dull one with fine special effects. Pohjanmaa is a much better piece by the same director, Pekka Parikka.

Mollberg in general is very recommended, so is Risto Jarva. His last film The Year of the Hare is a loved classic which gathers about million viewers every time it is shown on tv, which is not bad in a country with a population of five million. Mikko Niskanen's films and especially his four hour masterpiece Eight Deadly Shots are essential parts of our cinema. Other directors from the 60s and onwards (after our new wave): Jörn Donner (also a film critic and a writer), Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Aku Louhimies (propably the most popular Finnish director nowadays), Pirjo Honkasalo, Jarmo Lampela and Åke Lindman (81 years actor, director and screenwriter, still directing). Some of the older masters include Matti Kassila (the fantastic inspector Palmu films), Erik Blomberg, Nyrki Tapiovaara, Valentin Vaala, and Teuvo Tulio (our master of melodrama). Spede Pasanen and Ere Kokkonen were very productive film directors and producers which weren't (and aren't) appreciated by critics but loved by the "ordinary folk". Their comedy Uuno Turhapuro armeijan leivissä (Numbskull Emptybrook in the Army) was seen in it's original run by 750 000 movie goers. Most of their films are cheaply made comedies with childish and innocent humor.

edit. By not liking our films made in the past 25 years, Jarpie propably shows the sad attitude especially the young Finns have which arises usually from the shame about our "vulgaric" language which isn't considered as "cinematic" and the angst and melancholy usually linked to our films and our art in general. Melancholy is not cool and is not considered media sexy enough. I, myself, strongly oppose the phenomenon of the past few year's where most of the successful Finnish films mimick aspects usually known from Hollywood films (fast and jumpy cinematography and editing, popular rock music and overtly sentimental score music as a soundtrack, grey and dull digital look...) which has, anyway, been in great favor of our youth as opposed to more Kaurismäki-like film making. Anyway, our cinema is not filled with superb masterpieces every year but there are still quite good and worthy films to watch in every decade.

Sorry for forgetting the two different Tuntematon Sotilas-movies, and as you thought, I was talking about the '55-version of it. What put me off in the '55 version, is the "Rillumarei"-style, which made it seem like "War is fun, while we sing, crack jokes and spray down the ruskies!", the last time I watched it, was some years back, but I might watch it again next time it's on TV. I have never seen the Mollberg's movie, but it probably is more to my liking.

Actually, I like our language quite a lot, and I'm not ashamed of it at all, quite the opposite, I think it would suit the movies very well, because of the "vulgarity", especially when used to express anger, disappoitment and cursing. The dialogue is just very usually poorly written, and we lack a great writers, such as Mamet. The Finnish-language would have a lot to offer, because it's very nuanced, and could be greatly used for cleverly written dialogue.

The reason why I dislike the movies from the past 25 years is the visual dullness and conservative way of doing movies in Finland. For example, I've yet to see a Finnish movie which would use the winter setting well, and would emphahise the coldness, the feeling of isolation what piles of snow and the darkness can bring to people. Actually, I'm fan of melancholy and downbeat movies, which is why I love the film noirs and neo-noirs. Some people claim, that it's because of the small budgets that finnish movies looks dull, plain and the lighting looks always the same, but I highly disagree - Brick was made with very small budged and it was shot brilliantly and stylistically.

Unfortunately, I haven't seen many old Finnish movies, but one has stuck on my mind: "Hän varasti elämän" (could be translated as He Stole a Life) made in the '62. I saw it in the mid-to late 90s from TV and it impressed me quite a lot. Sadly, it haven't been released on DVD and I didn't see it on the rerun couple years back.

I am one of those people who dislikes Pasanen & Kokkonen duo's movies, especially their comedies (like Turhapuro-movies), but I can understand why some people would like his westerns for example, and I have to give some respect to Pasanen for trying something different with his westerns.

Since the early 2000s, it seems that there might be a new generation of talented finnish movie makers rising up, among them Energia Productions who released their Star Trek and Babylon 5 parody "Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning" in 2005 (which was in development for about 6 years, made with very small budged and partly by amateurs), and are now in the pre-production of their next movie "Iron Sky", thanks to very succesful "Star Wreck", which enabled them to form a professional production company. Just released Muukalainen (Stranger) looks interesting, at least visually, and I've heard some positive things about the movie "Sauna".

Maybe we should form a new topic in some other sub-forum about Finnish cinema :)


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:16 am 

Joined: Fri Nov 24, 2006 7:51 am
To keep it short, these Finnish films would be worth a check:

- Juha (Nyrki Tapiovaara, 1937)
- Valkoinen Peura/The White Reindeer (Erik Blomberg, 1952)
- Kahdeksan Surmanluotia/Eight Deadly Shots (Mikko Niskanen, 1972)
- Yhden Miehen Sota/One Man's War (Risto Jarva, 1973)
- Maa on Syntinen Laulu/The Earth is a Sinful Song (Rauni Mollberg, 1973)
- Arvottomat/The Worthless (Mika Kaurismäki, 1982)
- Tuntematon Sotilas/The Unknown Soldier (Rauni Mollberg, 1985)
- Zombie ja Kummitusjuna/Zombie and the Ghost Train (Mika Kaurismäki, 1991)
- Joutilaat/The Idle Ones (Susanna Helke & Virpi Suutari, 2001)
- Melankolian 3 Huonetta/The 3 Rooms of Melancholia (Pirjo Honkasalo, 2004)
- Muukalainen/The Visitor (Jukka-Pekka Valkeapää, 2009)

The list is of course not complete, but still something to start with. You might also want to check out the experimental cinema of Eija-Liisa Ahtila.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 10:14 am 
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YouTube has a marvellous 1990 interview with Kaurismäki, in which he disputes that it's a "Proletariat Trilogy" - it's actually "a loser trilogy - one step below proletariat".

It was shot for French TV, but it's in English.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 11:14 am 

Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 10:02 am
Wow. Thanks for that, MichaelB. I think I need to watch more Kaurismaki interviews.

It reminded me of Samuel Fuller, in the sense that his films seem like extensions of his personality.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 11:20 am 
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This set was my first introduction to Kaurismaki, and he's become one of my favorite directors.

I managed to find a copy of the OOP The Man Without a Past at my local used bookstore. I went to another one, and found another copy, so I urge anyone who can to check places like that. You'll often find some rare dvds (I found my legit Hard Boiled, Silence of the Lambs, and RoboCop this way, each for $15 and in great shape).


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 11:49 am 
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karmajuice wrote:
It reminded me of Samuel Fuller, in the sense that his films seem like extensions of his personality.

Did you know Samuel Fuller is in Kaurismäki's La Vie de Bohème?

And, rather more prominently, in Mika Kaurismäki's Tigrero - A Film That Was Never Made, which is entirely about Fuller. So it's probably safe to assume they got on well.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 12:58 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 10:02 am
If you sat me in a room with the two of them, I might die laughing. I'm not sure I can even imagine that. They're each on totally opposite ends of the spectrum.

I got the second volume of AE's Kaurismaki Collection. Looking forward to it. Unfortunately I have to order an external DVD drive before I can watch them, so I probably won't get around to them until I return from Finland.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:14 am 

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I need the song name from the movie, Ariel. Please help.

Towards the beginning of the movie, When Turo Pajala rides his father's Cadillac to town, a song plays in the background.

Please tell me the song and the link for it.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 12:39 pm 
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I'm not sure which is which, but here's a complete track listing.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 1:30 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:02 am
knives wrote:
I'm not sure which is which, but here's a complete track listing.


I have checked the tracks in the list from youtube but not able to find that song.

Need help.

Thanks in Advance.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:46 pm 

Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2008 8:23 am
If you mean the scene where he gets beat up by two thugs the song is I wanna go by Melrose.The same band plays on stage in Lights in the dusk.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 6:46 am 

Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:02 am
JPJ wrote:
If you mean the scene where he gets beat up by two thugs the song is I wanna go by Melrose.The same band plays on stage in Lights in the dusk.


I guess its a different one you have mentioned.

The song which I am referring comes after 6 minutes from the beginning.

Any help?


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:20 pm 
Rauli Badding Somerjoki: Valot (Lights)


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:48 pm 

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That song is certainly Valot by Rauli badding Somerjoki.I didnt even know that he recorded this song in english too,but both versions are on YouTube.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:24 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:02 am
cdale wrote:
Rauli Badding Somerjoki:Valot (Lights)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nA3arz7IC2c

Thanks JPJ you have made my day.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 1:24 am 

Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2008 8:23 am
Don't know how I missed this at the time but I just found out that Ariel's leading man Turo Pajala died in february 2007 after years of drink and drug problems.Apparently he also did some time for drug dealing.Seems like all Kaurismäki leading men die relatively young..


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