The Cinema of Aki Kaurismaki: Contrarian Storiesby Andrew Nestingen
Aki Kaurismäki is an enigma, an eminent auteur who claims his films are a joke. Since 1983, Kaurismäki has produced classically-styled films filled with cinephilic references to film history. He has earned an international art-house audience and many prizes, influencing such directors as Jim Jarmusch, Quentin Tarantino, and Wes Anderson. Yet
Aki Kaurismäki is an enigma, an eminent auteur who claims his films are a joke. Since 1983, Kaurismäki has produced classically-styled films filled with cinephilic references to film history. He has earned an international art-house audience and many prizes, influencing such directors as Jim Jarmusch, Quentin Tarantino, and Wes Anderson. Yet Kaurismäki is often depicted as the loneliest, most nostalgic of Finns (except when he promotes his films, makes political statements, and runs his many businesses). He is also depicted as a bohemian known for outlandish actions and statements. The Cinema of Aki Kaurismäki is the first comprehensive English-language study of this eccentric director. Drawing on revisionist approaches to film authorship, the text links the filmmaker and his films to the stories and issues animating film aesthetics and history, nostalgia, late modernity, politics, commerce, film festivals, and national cinema.
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Nestingen is uniquely positioned to discuss Kaurismäki's authorship in a fully informed and penetrating way: he speaks fluent Finnish and has studied and taught Finnish literature and culture for many years, he is fully familiar with European and American cultural history (with a special emphasis on cinema), he is a sophisticated film scholar conversant with a broad array of theoretical discourses, and he writes in an absolutely lucid and engaging style. He ranges from Garrison Keillor to Theodor Adorno with ease, bringing the reader easily into the complex matrix of his argument without any obfuscating jargon. The Cinema of Aki Kaurismäki is obviously a key addition to scholarship on the Finnish director, offering readers novel insights into Finnish culture along the way. But it is also an indispensable study for those interested in cinematic auteurism in its most recent incarnations.
Meet the Author
Andrew Nestingen is associate professor of Scandinavian studies at the University of Washington, where he teaches Finnish studies, film, literature, and cultural theory. His books include Crime and Fantasy in Scandinavia, Transnational Cinema in a Global North (coedited with Trevor G. Elkington), and Scandinavian Crime Fiction (coedited with Paula Arvas).
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