Tuesday, 2 April 2013

La Vie de Bohème [1992]

La Vie de Bohème, loosely adapted from a Henri Murger novel and Kaurismaki’s first film in French, was a delectable concoction of black humour and heartwarming humanism, a quietly melancholic tale of friendship, love and hopeless dreams, and an ode to bohemian life. Interestingly, the protagonist in his latest film Le Havre was introduced here, thus making this particularly recommended for those who have watched and liked the latter. The film’s three hilariously droll and spectacularly untalented protagonists are – Marcel Marx (André Wilms), a Parisian writer who is failing to find publishers for his massive 21-act play, Rodolpho (Matti Pellonpää), an illegal emigrant from Albania and a painter of rather amateurish pictures, and Schaunard (Kari Väänänen), a musician whose latest creation, an avant-garde composition, would leave most shell-shocked. The rambling script memorably chronicled how these three social outsiders inadvertently come together, and, despite neither being of the talkative sort, become bosom buddies bound by their pecuniary woes and love for their respective crafts. Shot in expressionistic and high-contrast B/W, the film comprised of memorably deadpan enactment of the three oddball characters made even more hilarious by the fact that two of the actors were made to blindly read their dialogues aloud as they didn’t understand a word of French. Yet, their camaraderie, their shared hopes and the small sacrifices they make for each another laced the film with a deep sense of tragic beauty and poignancy. Jean-Pierre Leaud played a funny cameo as an art patron, while iconic filmmakers Sam Fuller and Louis Malle made blink-and-you’ll-miss appearances.

Director: Aki Kaurismaki
Genre: Comedy/Social Satire/Buddy Film/Romance
Language: French
Country: France/Finland

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