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Mika Kaurismäki Is Coming to Motovun Film Festival!

Mika Kaurismäki, a renowned Finnish film director and a member of the famous Kaurismäki family of filmmakers, is coming to Motovun Film Festival! Mika Kaurismäki is also the older brother of the world famous Finnish filmmaker Aki. In the first decade of their work, the Kaurismäki brothers marked the new era of Finnish cinema with their joint projects. Their joint works accounted for almost one third of Finnish film production of the time!

Although Mika Kaurismäki started working on film by chance, his first film – Liar (Valehtelija, 1980, - his graduation work at the film studies in Munich, starring his brother Aki – became an overnight sensation in Finland, marking the beginning of the film work of the two brothers and a new era in Finnish cinema. Mika and Aki then founded Villealfa Filmproductions production company, which soon became a center of low-budget film production. By the late 1980s it became the third biggest production house of all times in Finland. In only a few years time, the works of the Kaurismäki brothers accounted for almost one third of the national production. The name of the company is a tribute to the iconic Jean-Luc Godard’s film Alphaville. Mika and Aki jointly produced, wrote, directed and acted in their films.

After Liar, Mika made his first long feature The Worthless (Arvottomat, 1982). Besides referring to Goddard and his films, the film also includes references to American film noire and road film. This most dynamical film of the iconic brotherly duo is considered by many as Mika’s most convincing work. The films that followed – the road film Rosso (1985) and an action comedy Helsinki Napoli – All Night Long (1987) – dealt with the relations between Finland and Italy. Kaurismäki managed to have his and his brother’s role models starring in the latter one: director Sam Fuller and Eddie Constantine, the protagonist of Godard’s Alphaville, play major roles in it. By then already acclaimed Wim Wenders and the up-and-coming Jim Jarmusch also appear in the film.

The early 1990’s witnessed gradual closing of Villealfe Filmproductions and the brothers started producing films through their newly-established production houses. Mika founded Marianna Films in 1987. That company produced his next film, Zombie and the Ghost Train (Zombie ja Kummitusjuna, 1991) and all the others that followed.

In Brazilian jungle in 1994, together with directors Sam Fuller and Jim Jarmusch, Mika made a feature-length documentary Tigrero – A Film That Was Never Made. It is a story about the film Tigrero that Fuller tried to shoot on the said location in the 1950s, but it never happened because film studios considered Brazilian jungle to be too dangerous for the stars that were supposed to appear in the film – John Wayne and Ava Gardner.

In the early 1990s, Mika moved to Brazil, concentrating on international productions. In 1996 he made the thriller Condition Red. His biggest production so far is the comedy LA Without A Map with David Tennant, July Delpy, Vincent Gallo and Johnny Depp in the leading roles.

Music has an important role in the life of Mika Kaurismäki. He showed it by making three music documentaries in a row: Moro no Brasil (2002) and Brasileirinho (2005) are acclaimed documentaries that explore traditional Brasilian music and Sonic Mirror (2007) follows the well-known jazz drummer Billy Cobham on his travels to various geographical and musical zones.

One of his latest films, Three Wise Men (Kolme viisasta miestä), will present Mika Kaurismäki’s work on Motovun Film Festival.








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