On a new episode of the Film at Lincoln Center podcast, we’re excited to present a conversation with actors Alma Pöysti and Jussi Vatanen, whose new film, Fallen Leaves, is currently playing in our theaters.
Sweet-souled in story, scalpel-sharp in filmmaking precision, this enchanting love story from Finnish virtuoso Aki Kaurismäki circles around two financially strapped Helsinkians who keep finding and losing one another in a world that seems to be falling apart. Evoking dark-comic romances from his early career such as Shadows in Paradise and Ariel (NYFF27), the sardonic yet exquisitely melancholic Fallen Leaves devotes its wry, humane gaze to grocery clerk Ansa (Alma Pöysti) and construction laborer Holappa (Jussi Vatanen), who commence an on-again, off-again relationship of extreme tentativeness, while seeking employment and stability. As with the greatest of Kaurismäki’s films, everyday details register as grand, meaningful cinematic gestures. This filmmaker has scrupulously carved another fictive universe out of a handful of specific, vivid locations, yet Fallen Leaves very much takes place in the world we’re living in, which makes its surrender to hope all the more affecting. Winner of the Jury Prize at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. Finland’s official entry for Best International Feature Film at the 2024 Academy Awards. A MUBI release.
This conversation was moderated by film critic, Tomris Laffly.
Watch and listen below.