Le Havre (PG)
- Starring: Andre Wilms, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Blondin Miguel
- Director: Aki Kaurismaki
- Duration: 103 mins
- Year: 2011
In this warmhearted portrait of the French harbour city that gives the film its name, fate throws young African refugee Idrissa into the path of Marcel Marx, a well-spoken bohemian who works as a shoeshiner. With innate optimism and the unwavering support of his community, Marcel stands up to officials doggedly pursuing the boy for deportation. A political fairy tale that exists somewhere between the reality of contemporary France and the classic cinema of Jean-Pierre Melville and Marcel Carne, Le Havre is a charming, deadpan delight.
Alison Rowat's Review
Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki returns with a tale of a shoeshine man trying to protect a young African immigrant on the run from police.
All this while the amiable Max (Andre Wilms) worries about his wife in hospital.
As with many of Kaurismakis films, Le Havre is heavy on whimsy, with the comedy played either very gently or too broad.
An acquired taste.
Paul Greenwood's Review
In the titular French port, a middle aged couple live close to poverty, though they appear content enough. But their lives are disrupted by the wifes sudden illness and the husband giving refuge to a young Gabonese illegal immigrant who is trying to make it to Britain.
This gentle drama creates a nice sense of place and community but causes consternation in the way it never really settles into a dependable narrative structure or offers believable characters.
If youre familiar with director Kaurismakis style you may not find that such a problem, and as the deadpan, sometimes absurd events amble along without fuss, there are many charming moments. But more often than not, its just too cute for its own good.