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Regular version of the site

Book chapter

Dreamers and Other Sentimental Fools: Money, Solidarity and Ambivalent Populism in the Films of Aki Kaurismäki

P. 101-118.

A persistent representation in Aki Kaurismäki’s cinema renders the members of the working class as longing for an ‘ordinary’ life, a life involving secure employment, conventional love and a middle-class lifestyle. Rather than pursuing a rationally calculated career, goal-oriented plans or competitive positioning in the marketplace, however, Kaurismäki’s heroes inhabit an emotional tonality marked by the opposite values; humility, compassion, solidarity and an underdog eccentricity. The customary modalities of subaltern bonding sketch here a working-class culture that does not rely on reasoning and careful planning but flourishes on the spontaneity, solidarity, counterintuitiveness, musicality and poetic inspiration of the characters’ lives and wandering.