Film Screening 7th August, 2012

Poster for Le Havre

Le Havre 

8:00 PM, 7th August, 2012

  • PG
  • 90 mins
  • 2011
  • Aki Kaurismäki
  • Aki Kaurismäki
  • André Wilms, Kati Outinen, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Blondin Miguel


What do get when you have a Finnish production, made by a Japanese director, in French?

This delightful fable centres on elderly, working-class shoe shiner Marcel Marx (Wilms, reprising his role from Kaurismäki's 1992 film La Vie de Bohème), who lives a simple, cheerful life with his loving wife Arletty (Outinen) in the French port city of Le Havre. Marcel's life takes a turn when he discovers a young African boy named Idrissa (Miguel) hiding in the harbour waters. He befriends the child and learns that he and many other illegal immigrants have been hiding in a shipping container nearby. Idrissa left Africa with hopes of arriving in London to meet up with his aunt but instead is stuck in Le Havre. Marcel takes the boy in and, with the help of his friends and neighbours, protects him from the authorities and endeavours to get him to London.

Le Havre has been called a fairy tale and it's a very apt description. This may be a run-down, shabby world but it is populated with the kindest of people. But, as in all fairy tales, there is a dark side to this world; seen in glimpses, most notably the film noir opening and the inherent implications of Idrissa's escape from his homeland. Yet this positive, simple tale is kept light and enjoyable with its drama buoyed by humour and hope. With beautiful cinematography, delightful characters and an upbeat outlook on life, it's guaranteed to leave you smiling.

Emma Petrie