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Mika Kaurismäki in 2009
Mika Juhani Kaurismäki (Finnish: [ˈmikɑ ˈkɑurismæki] ; born 21 September 1955) is a Finnish film director.
Mika Kaurismäki is the elder brother of Aki Kaurismäki, and the father of Maria Kaurismäki, who graduated from Tampere School of Art and Media in 2008 with her movie Sideline.
Mika Kaurismäki has lived in Brazil since approximately 1992 and has made several Brazilian-themed films, including Amazon, Tigrero, Sambólico, Rytmi, and Moro no Brasil. His film Brasileirinho is a 2005 musical documentary about traditional Brazilian choro music.
Mika Kaurismäki's first film, The Liar (1980), was an overnight sensation, when first shown in Finland; it marked the beginning of the Kaurismäki brothers' film career and started a new era in Finnish cinema.
After high school Mika Kaurismäki worked as a painter of houses and apartments in the small town of Kuusankoski in the southeastern part of Finland. In the autumn of 1976, when the winter was coming and the annual high season for painting houses was over, he thought of doing something else in life. Still wearing his painter overalls, he walked into a bookstore and bought the newly published History of Cinema by Peter von Bagh. He started reading it from page one and decided to become a film director.
Mika Kaurismäki studied cinema in Munich, Germany, at the Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen (1977–1981); The Liar (1980), made in Finland, was his diplom film. His younger brother Aki Kaurismäki, then a student of journalism, played the main role and also co-wrote the screenplay. After the success of The Liar, Mika Kaurismäki decided to stay in Finland and together with his brother and some friends he founded the production company Villealfa Filmproductions, which soon became a home of vital low- or no-budget film making; by the end of the 1980s it was the third biggest film production company of all time in Finland. The Villealfa film family consisted of many colleagues and friends in addition to the Kaurismäki brothers, including the actors Matti Pellonpää and Kari Väänänen and the cinematographer Timo Salminen. Mika's 1984 film The Clan – Tale of the Frogs was entered into the 14th Moscow International Film Festival.
Aki Kaurismäki, who had worked as Mika's assistant and a screenwriter, began his career as a director when Mika produced his first film Crime and Punishment (1984). During the active Villealfa years, Mika co-founded the Midnight Sun Film Festival (1986) and the distribution company Senso Films (1987) and the Andorra cinemas in Helsinki.
The 1990s saw the gradual fading of the Villealfa spirit; Mika and Aki started to produce their films separately, through their own production companies. Mika had founded Marianna Films in 1987 and its first independent production was Zombie and the Ghost Train (1991).
Over the course of the 1990s Mika established his base and second home in Rio de Janeiro, and started to concentrate more in international co-productions. In 1995 in Philadelphia he directed the no-budget thriller Condition Red with James Russo, Cynda Williams and Paul Calderón. Condition Red was entered into the 19th Moscow International Film Festival.His biggest production so far is the comedy L.A. Without a Map (1998), with David Tennant, Julie Delpy, Vincent Gallo, Johnny Depp, James LeGros, Anouk Aimée, Joe Dallesandro etc.
During the production of Moro no Brasil (2002) Kaurismäki opened a live music club, Mika's Bar, in Rio de Janeiro, but gave it up later and decided to concentrate primarily on film making. In 2003 he was a member of the jury at the 25th Moscow International Film Festival.
The Road North, starring Vesa-Matti Loiri and Samuli Edelmann, premiered in Finland on 24 August 2012, and has been a success with more than 200.000 viewers by the end of September 2012. Kaurismäki is the producer and co-writer of the 2012 documentary film The King – Jari Litmanen which tells about the career of Finnish footballer Jari Litmanen.
Kaurismäki has made films in several languages, most commonly English, Finnish and Portuguese. Below, the original titles of the movies are shown in parentheses.
Matti Pellonpää was a Finnish actor and a musician. He rose to international fame with his roles in both Aki Kaurismäki's and Mika Kaurismäki's films; particularly being a regular in Aki's films, appearing in 18 of them.
Aki Olavi Kaurismäki is a Finnish screenwriter and film director. He is best known for the award-winning Drifting Clouds (1996), The Man Without a Past (2002), Le Havre (2011) and The Other Side of Hope (2017), as well as for the mockumentary Leningrad Cowboys Go America (1989). He is described as Finland's best-known film director.
Matti Lähitie is a Finnish footballer, currently playing for Jyväskylän Jalkapalloklubi (JJK) in the Finnish Ykkönen. He plays as a defender or defensive midfielder.
The Finnish cinema has a long history, with the first public screenings starting almost as early as modern motion picture technology was invented. It took over a decade before the first Finnish film was produced and screened in 1907. After these first steps of Finnish cinema, the progress was very slow. After 1907 there were two periods when no Finnish films were produced. This was partly caused by the political situation, as Finland held a status as an autonomous part of the Russian Empire and was thus influenced by the worldwide political situation.
Ariel is a 1988 Finnish drama film directed and written by Aki Kaurismäki. The film tells the story of Taisto Kasurinen, a Finnish coal miner who must find a way to live in the big city after the mine closes.
Calamari Union is a 1985 Finnish surreal comedy film, the second full-length film by the director Aki Kaurismäki. The film's cast includes well-known Finnish actors and rock musicians.
Matti Kassila was a Finnish film director who achieved fame as one of the most prominent Finnish filmmakers in the 1950s and 1960s. He is most famous for the series of four Inspector Palmu movies, based on the character created by Mika Waltari. During his long career, he won seven Jussi Awards, including a concrete Jussi for lifetime achievement, and received numerous other commendations. His 1959 film Punainen viiva was entered into the 1st Moscow International Film Festival. He was also one of the screenwriters for the 1968 film Here, Beneath the North Star, directed by Edvin Laine.
Drifting Clouds is a 1996 Finnish comedy drama film edited, written, produced, and directed by Aki Kaurismäki and starring Kati Outinen, Kari Väänänen and Markku Peltola. The film is the first in Kaurismäki's Finland trilogy, the other two films being The Man Without a Past and Lights in the Dusk. The film was selected as the Finnish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 69th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.
La Vie de bohème is a 1992 film directed by Aki Kaurismäki and starring Matti Pellonpää, Évelyne Didi and André Wilms. Kaurismäki's screenplay for the film was loosely based on Henri Murger's influential 1851 novel Scènes de la vie de bohème which has spawned several on-screen adaptations as well as plays and operas, the most notable one being Giacomo Puccini's 1896 La bohème.
Moro no Brasil is a 2002 documentary film directed by the Finnish filmmaker Mika Kaurismäki.
The Worthless is a 1982 Finnish film directed by Mika Kaurismäki, who also co-wrote the film with his brother Aki Kaurismäki. It is a road movie about two men and a woman driving around the country as they are being chased by a group of criminals and the police.
Turo Pajala was a Finnish actor.
The Clan – Tale of the Frogs is a 1984 Finnish drama film directed by Mika Kaurismäki. It was entered into the 14th Moscow International Film Festival.
The 16th Moscow International Film Festival was held from 7 to 18 July 1989. The Golden St. George was awarded to the Italian film The Icicle Thief directed by Maurizio Nichetti.
Condition Red is a 1995 Finnish-American thriller film directed by Mika Kaurismäki. The premise is that a correctional officer falls in love with a female inmate who convinces him to help her escape. It was entered into the 19th Moscow International Film Festival.
The 25th Moscow International Film Festival was held from 20 to 29 June 2003. The Golden St. George was awarded to the Italian-Spanish film The End of a Mystery directed by Miguel Hermoso.
Zombie and the Ghost Train is a 1991 Finnish film directed by Mika Kaurismäki. It focuses on Antti, a loner who loves performing music but leads a miserable life otherwise.
Matti Ijäs is a Finnish television and film director and screenwriter. His works for television and cinema are characterised by eccentric characters, awkward situations, warm deadpan humour and witty dialogue. His recurrent themes include birth and death and other beginnings and ends. Often writing, co-writing, or adapting his own screenplays, he is considered one of the few true auteurs in Finnish cinema alongside Aki Kaurismäki.
The Liar is a 1981 Finnish comedy film directed by Mika Kaurismäki.