The Films of Aki Kaurismäki: Ludic Engagements

by Thomas Austin (ed.) (2018)

- Kaurismäki, Aki (1957-) -- Criticism and interpretation.
- Motion picture producers and directors -- Finland.

Despite creating an extensive and innovative body of work over the last 30 years, Aki Kaurismäki remains relatively neglected in Anglophone scholarship. This international collection of original essays aims to redress such neglect by assembling diverse critical inquiries into Kaurismäki's oeuvre. The first anthology on Kaurismäki to be published in English, it offers a range of voices responding to his politically and aesthetically compelling cinema. Deploying various methodologies to explore multiple facets of his work, /The Films of Aki Kaurismäki/ will come to be seen as the definitive book on Kaurismäki.

   /Thomas Austin

Part 1: Time and Space

1: Temporality in Kaurismäki: Anachronism, Allusion, Tableau
  / Thomas Austin
2: Three Ecologies of Kamurismäki
  / Pietari Kääpä
3: Beyond the Edges of the Frame: The Invisible in Aki Kaurismäki's Films
  / Lara Perski
4: Kaurismäki and Japan
  / Eija Niskanen

Part 2: Tone and Point of View

5: The Camera's Ironic Point of View: Notes on Strange and Comic Elements in the Films of Aki Kaurismäki
  / Jaakko Seppälä
6: Dreamers and Other Sentimental Fools: Money, Solidarity and Ambivalent Populism in the Films of Aki Kaurismäki
  / Panos Kompatsiaris
7: The Cultural Techniques of Gesture in Aki Kaurismäki's /Proletarian/ Trilogy
  / Angelos Koutsourakis
8: Kaurismäki's Musical Moments: Genre, Irony, Utopia, Redemption
  / Andrew Nestingen

Part 3: Performance

9: Levels of typification in Aki Kaurismäki's /Drifting Clouds/
  / Henry Bacon
10: Masquerading, Underacting, and Screen Performances in /Hamlet Goes Business/
  / Ulrike Hanstein
11: Deadpan Dogs: Kaurismäki's Canine Comedies
  / Michael Lawrence

Thomas Austin is Senior Lecturer in Media & Film Studies at the University of Sussex, UK. He is the author of Hollywood, Hype and Audiences: Selling and Watching Popular Film in the 1990s (2002) and Watching the World: Screen Documentary and Audiences (2007); and co-editor of Contemporary Hollywood Stardom (2003) and Rethinking Documentary: New Perspectives, New Practices (2008).



“Aki Kaurismaki is a remarkable, complex auteur too often overlooked in Anglophone scholarship, and this vibrant new collection of essays seeks to redress that misfortune as well as fill in the gaps of extant work on the Finnish master. The book breaks new ground by closely connecting Kaurismaki's aesthetics-his distinctive mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing, and sound design (particularly with music)-to the much discussed, left-wing populist political messaging in his films. The editor, Thomas Austin, has curated a group of essays that dialogue with one another in refreshing ways while each scholar builds a unique and cogent position, illuminating diverse aspects of Kaurismaki's oeuvre; from his use of Brechtian distanciation, irony, and anachronism, to his ambivalent treatment of global capitalism and even the working classes he celebrates.”
–  Melissa Croteau, Professor of Film Studies & Film Program Director, California Baptist University, USA

“This is a notable collection on the cinema of Aki Kaurismäki, one of the most under-researched authors in European Cinema. It would be easy to label Kaurismäki's self-conscious and unique style, often associated with the New Sincerity movement that marks a departure from postmodernism, as predictable, but the contributors in this volume manage to avoid such aesthetic fallacy. By contrast, not only do the essays in the collection have a keen eye for the audiovisual specificity and diversity in Kaurismäki's films, they also reflect critically on the social and political implications of his aesthetic choices. This makes the volume much more than just a study of an auteur director insofar as its essays compel us to rethink the categories of style and politically engaged filmmaking.”
–  Tarja Laine, Assistant Professor of Film Studies, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands


The Films of Aki Kaurismäki: Ludic Engagements.
Ed. by Thomas Austin.
London / New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018, 240 p., ill.
ISBN 9781501325380 (hb., GBP 67, 20)
ISBN 9781501325403 (epub/mobi, GBP 72, 58)
ISBN 9781501325410 (pdf, GBP 72, 58)
[Bibl. refs.]