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Deeply melancholic Kaurismäki in Guardian interview

Award-winning Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki played up his chain-smoking, dour image in an alcohol-fuelled interview with The Guardian this week. He told the paper he hates his own movies and has little hope for mankind.

Aki Kaurismäki
Aki Kaurismäki Image: Yle

In the interview, Kaurismäki said melancholy defines the Finnish character. He explained that high suicide rates are the result of an absence of sunshine.

“It is always dark, and when it is dark, it is also dark in the mind," said Kaurismäki. "I more or less know I will kill myself, but not yet.”

The interviewer expressed surprise at Kaurismäki’s misery. Though bleak, his films are often funny and romantic. His latest movie, "Le Havre," has an optimistic streak despite its heavy subject matter—the plight of African asylum seekers in Europe.

“I might look like a cool guy, but I am most sentimental. I care about others, not too much about myself," he told The Guardian.

While displaying compassion for the working class and marginalised, the director does not have similar feelings for the well-off, prompting the paper to parallel Kaurismäki’s life philosophy with that of Osama bin Laden.

"For mankind, I can't see any way out, except terrorism. We kill the 1%," he says, referring to “the rich and the politicians who are the puppies of the rich.”

Kaurismäki’s despair extends to contemporary cinema. In his opinion, no director has made a masterpiece since the 1970s. He is not a fan of his own work either, which he thinks is dreadful. Of "Le Havre" he said, "It may be the first one I don't hate."

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