As if ole mate David Stratton hadn’t done enough for us in recent years, the legend has now brought us Essential Kaurismäki; a curated retrospective collection of Finland’s most prolific filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki. When we say prolific, we mean gosh darn over-achieving prolific, the man has made at least two dozen films and has been at it well before the Berlin Wall fell so he’s definitely a guy to take note of (did we mention he’s an actor too!? Of course he is).

Known for being a “master of deadpan” and his strong political views, Kaurismäki has taken the auteur label to the next level by  producing, directing, scripting and usually editing all his films. Stratton’s collection ranges from comedy to romance and drama (and everything in between) so head over to the NFSA website for ticket info. Or if you’re feeling lucky, like and comment on this article telling us which film from the collection you’d like to see and why to go in the draw to win one of three double passes to the event screening of your choice (comp closes midnight 27 June).

NFSA presents Essential Kaurismäki: Selected by David Stratton (29 June – 11 July), ticket information.


All films have English subtitles.

Crime and Punishment

A gripping update of Dostoevsky’s 1866 novel with the story relocating to contemporary Helsinki and described as ‘one of the best Finnish films of recent years’ by David Stratton.


Shadows In Paradise

Only Kaurismäki’s third feature, this story is a terse and tightly structured romantic drama that follows two lonely people- a garbage collector and a supermarket cashier.



Follow the misadventures of a mineworker who travels from Finland’s frozen north to the south after a mine closes down.


Leningrad Cowboys Go America

Using Finnish band, Sleepy Sleepers, as inspiration Kaurismäki creates the eccentric rock band ‘Cowboys’ in this cartoon-like road movie that involves the band touring around the US.


The Match Factory Girl

A story about life, loss, and standing up for yourself where a factory worker is not only exploited by her employer but also her family and friends, until she meets a man at a dance hall that helps her speak up.


La Vie De Bohème

Join a primitive painter, a music composer, and an author as they share life’s misfortunes and setbacks in a series of tragic episodes in Paris. A delightful adaptation of the book on which the opera La Bohème is based.


Drifting Clouds

A tram driver meets a restaurant manager after both of them lose their job and have to start over again in a light- hearted story about life’s mishaps.


The Man Without a Past

When a man is robbed, beaten, and left for dead in a small town, he loses his memory and has to rely on the kindness of strangers to help him restart his life.


Lights in the Dusk

A thrilling story of crime, punishment, and devotion with a twist of love and perseverance in this film that features key Kaurismäki themes: a man, two women, a robbery, and a dog.


Le Havre

A former writer who shines shoes for a living and cares for his beloved wife is suddenly tossed into a state of flux when the sudden hospitalisation of his wife coincides with his decision to help out a young illegal African immigrant.


And if you’ve made it this far down the list…