Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Match Factory Girl

Kati Outinen is a wallflower leading a miserable life working at a match factory. Her paycheck goes directly to her parents where she still lives. She meets a man in a bar and thinks that some happiness is finally coming her way. It's not.

The title reminds you of H. C. Andersen, and the film is part fairytale, part dark comedy and one of the best revenge films ever. It's also Kaurismäki at his most minimalistic. The first piece of dialogue, "A small beer.", comes 13 minutes into the film, the next, "Whore!", at 18 minutes. All the dialogue in the film would fit on a single piece of paper. The film is also a study in economical storytelling, like the scene where she's run over by a car: She walks along the pavement, then out of the frame and then there's the sound of a breaking car. We never see the actual acccident. Outinen gives a very touching performance, and as a viewer you can't help but cheer for her when she finally seeks her revenge.

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