The Cinema of Aki Kaurismäki: Contrarian Stories [NOOK Book]


Aki Kaurism?ki is an enigma, an eminent auteur who claims his films are a joke. Since 1983, Kaurism?ki 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 Kaurism?ki 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 ...
See more details below
The Cinema of Aki Kaurismäki: Contrarian Stories

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$13.99 price
(Save 44%)$24.99 List Price


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.
Read More Show Less

What People Are Saying

Linda Rugg

Andrew Nestingen's The Cinema of Aki Kaurismäki is the best, most nuanced, and most intellectually acute work to have been produced on the Finnish filmmaker's work, and it is also the first major study of the director in English. More than a monograph, Nestingen's study provides sensitive new approach to auteurist scholarship in general, opening up new vistas for studies of cinematic direction. Nestingen chooses to study Kaurismäki's authorship from four angles of approach, or four 'stories', as he calls them: Kaurismäki as Auteur, as Bohemian, as Nostalgic, and as Finn. It is Nestingen's contention that the stories that grow up among critics and audiences about particular cinematic authorships are an integral part of the critical apparatus, so that parsing these stories produces significant insight into the significance of the director's films. The stories we tell each other, in other words, about Aki Kaurismäki, or any director, have a direct bearing on how we understand their work. And all of these four stories Nestingen identifies, as stereotyped as smooth as they might seem on the surface, rapidly break up into vexed ambiguities, revealing a variety of tensions and fault-lines. For instance, Kaurismäki the Auteur resides uneasily on the boundary between European art cinema and Hollywood as source of inspiration, while Kaurismäki the Bohemian touts his status as rebel and outsider, even while he depends on the security and support of a wealthy social welfare state for his life and art. Kaurismäki the Nostalgic crafts a world constructed of objects, voices, and images from a lost or imagined past, but as a subjectively felt experience rather than a museum archive. And Kaurismäki the Finn both embodies the stereotypes associated with his small nation and turns them to his own subversive uses, creating a space for a discussion of 'minor' nations in the world of filmmaking, film production, and film distribution. In Nestingen's study, this apparently oddball filmmaker from a little country on the margins of Europe becomes a fascinating test case for a battery of new ways to consider art film authorship.

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.

Linda Badley

As the first comprehensive study in English of this acclaimed and enigmatic Finnish filmmaker, the importance of Andrew Nestingen's work should be obvious. The book is equally stimulating and valuable, however, for its rethinking of film authorship through an array of revisionist approaches. Through these, Aki Kaurismäki emerges as a complex, contrarian figure whose films disrupt and engage the essential debates of cinema studies within the contexts of late modernity.

Anu Koivunen

In this engaging investigation of the aesthetics and the interpretive frames of Aki Kaurismäki's films, Andrew Nestingen scrutinizes the conventional readings of Kaurismäki as a romantic outsider, an idiosyncratic Finn and a social critic -- and goes beyond them. Nestingen discusses Kaurismäki's filmmaking at the intersection of national film culture and politics, transnational festival circuits and world cinema market, offering it not as a case of Finnish or European cinema but as an illustrative case of the multi-local and multinational composition of all national cinemas. In Nestingen's account, Kaurismäki stands out as an auteur of contemporary world cinema, a director whose films trade in contradictions, engage with multiple times and places and speak in several registers. An essential reading for critics, scholars and fans alike, this book will be formative for the way we think about the cinema of Aki Kaurismäki, and about the cinemas of small-nations.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231850414
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 4/30/2013
  • Series: Directors' Cuts
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • File size: 8 MB

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).
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)