drifting-clouds-kauas-pilvet-karkaavat-feb-26thIlona and Lauri are not exactly a young couple. She works in a restaurant, he’s a tram driver; and both lose their jobs. This is a comedy? Well yes, but one which makes you care about all the characters and care a lot. “The potentially depressing subject matter is superbly offset by Kaurismäki’s customary deadpan brand of gently absurdist comedy, by the use of primary colours in the set designs, and by the quiet yet real sense of supportiveness that imbues Ilona and Lauri’s relationship not only with each other but with their friends and colleagues” – Geoff Andrew, Time Out. (Cert PG)
Dir: Aki Kaurismäki 96 mins Fin/Ger/Fra 1997

to be shown with THE THIRD SAM (Cert U) 10 min

Programme Notes

Drifting Clouds (Kauas Pilvet Karkaavat)
Finland 1996 96mins Cert PG

This Finnish comedy drama, penned by its director Aki Kaurismäki (The Man Without a Past, 2002; Le Havre, 2011; I Hired a Contract Killer, 1990), focuses on a married couple who have both lost their jobs. Lauri and Ilona, played by Kari Väänänen (Leningrad Cowboys Go America,1989) and Kati Outinen (The Match Factory Girl, 1990), both decide to try and find new jobs but things do not go according to plan.

The film was originally intended to be a sequel to Kaurismäki’s 1986 romantic comedy drama Shadows in Paradise, with Matti Pellonpää (La Vie de Bohème, 1992) reprising his popular role as the garbage man Nikander. However, following Pellonpää’s death during pre-production the script had to rewritten, with the result that the characters of Ilona and Melartin (here reprised by Sakari Kuosmanen) remained the only roles to feature in both films.

The film scooped five Finnish film industry Jussi awards, including Best Film, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. It also picked up an award at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival and at the 1997 Belgian Grand Prix de l’Union de la Critique du Cinema.
Acknowledgements: Various contributors, IMDB.com, Martin Teller, Martin Teller’s Movie Reviews, Stefan Hedmark, ThrillMeSoftly.com

“A charming and funny movie that’s a breeze to sit through.” Martin Teller, Martin Teller’s Movie Reviews

“The humour is moderate yet drastic, which is quite an achievement; the director has a way of combining credible everyday life with the absurd and stylized.” Stefan Hedmark, Thrill Me Softly

Ilona – Kati Outinen
Lauri – Kari Väänänen
Rouva Sjöholm – Elina Salo
Melartin – Sakari Kuosmanen
Lajunen – Markku Peltola

Director – Aki Kaurismäki
Producer – Aki Kaurismäki
Screenplay – Aki Kaurismäki
Music – Shelley Fisher
Cinematography – Timo Salminen

To be shown with
The Third Sam
Director Ken Fairbairn, UK, 1962, 10 mins, Cert U, Producer Edgar Anstey (BT Films)

In the third of our shorts from the BTF archive, Sam Smith is taught to drive an electric locomotive. He learns the new job without difficulty but one day his loco breaks down and he summons up three sides of his character to deal with the emergency. With narration, in typical rhyming monologue by Stanley Holloway, this is an original and amusing approach to instructional film making. From British Transport Films Collection Vol. 3, Running a Railway


“A piece of cinematic poetry, even though the narration and performances made it a bit laughable in places”

“Early management motivation theory!”

“Enjoyable as a whole, particularly Stanley Holloway’s narration”

“Made good sense.”

“A novelty”

“Started off well but ….”


“Scandinavian comedy methinks! I quite enjoyed it, I must say.”

“Very Finnish, very deadpan. Deadbeat atmosphere but the dog was excellent.”

“What an introduction to Finnish culture. They almost smiled at the end!”

“Been there, many times ….”

“Whilst the themes may be very prescient in today’s economic climate, this film was a charming comedic affair. This era of Finnish is ripe for revisiting!”

“Shakespearian style comedy but very bitty”

“What a strange little film. Some of it worked but most of it didn’t.”

“Quirky but a bit slow”

“Interesting, if a little bleak!”

“It shows you can’t do anything without capital. Nice cheerful music to accompany their tragedy. Always look on the bright side!”

“(They were) very inexpressive, even when the second restaurant was working alright! Not very thought provoking.”

“Pantographs to be seen in both films!”

“Any slower and it would have gone backwards!”


A:6, B:16, C:11, D:3, E:0 to give 67%