Fallen Leaves, the fourth instalment in Aki Kaurismäki's series focusing on working-class Finns, won the Jury Prize in Cannes on Saturday. The Prix du Jury is generally considered the third prize of the festival. The Golden Palm, or top prize, went to the film Anatomy of a Fall, directed by Justine Triet.
Kaurismäki was, however, not present to accept the prize, as he had already travelled back to Finland. Actors Alma Pöysti and Jussi Vatanen, who play the couple at the centre of the film's deadpan love story, accepted the award on his behalf.
Fallen Leaves tells the story of Ansa, played by Pöysti, who is struggling with odd jobs, and the alcoholic Holappa, played by Vatanen. Dispatches from the war in Ukraine regularly play on the radio in the film. Kaurismäki previously told Yle that he wanted to capture this time in Finnish history for future generations.
Premiering in Finland this coming fall, Fallen Leaves is Kaurismäki's 20th feature film and was the only Nordic feature film at Cannes. A total of 21 films competed for the Golden Palm.
Kaurismäki's Man Without a Past won the Grand Prix, the second-place prize at the Cannes festival, in 2002. Finnish director Juho Kuosmanen's Compartment Number 6 won the same prize in 2021.
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