Kaurismäki is interested in the plight of the ordinary people of Finland. In his films he depicts their every day struggle against harsh conditions. Kaurismäki generally rejects both callous capitalism and inhumane state. Still his heroes usually find strength to triumph over their oppressors albeit very often in his trademark meek way. Often they succeed by joining together and showing their solidarity.
Kaurismäki is keen on retro stylistic values. His characters usually listen to archaic Finnish pub rock and rock'n'roll. They hang out in cafes which seem to be designed according to '70s taste. They are old-fashioned in every respect.
Films by Aki Kaurismäki
- Ariel (1988)
- The Match Factory Girl (1990)
- The Man Without a Past (2002)
- Le Havre (2011)
- The Other Side of Hope (2017)
- The '70s: Everything in Kaurismäki's films is very old-fashioned.
- The Alcoholic: Plenties of those.
- Author Appeal: Kaurismäki obviously always shoots the things he likes.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: When they finally break down under the harsh conditions of life.
- Black Comedy
- Capitalism Is Bad: Kaurismäki in fact does not trust either the big firms or in The Man. This trope is also not played completely straight as many of his characters try to develop their small business. Some of them succeed, some do not.
- The Comically Serious: Many of his characters too. They say their lines with a deadpan expression and it results in the great hilarity.
- Compressed Adaptation: For both Hamlet and Crime and Punishment. Of course the characters are all Finns.
- Crapsack World: Finland is not the cruelest department of hell but a very dreary and barren one.
- Deadpan Snarker: Many of his characters say very calmly unexpected and paradoxical things which sound really funny especially because of their manner of delivery.
- Dull Surprise: That how his characters often take especially unfavourable turn of events.
- From Bad to Worse: For many of his characters.
- The Great Depression: according to the director it is always underway in Finland. Everyone loses jobs and small enterprises are always shut down. The economic trend in the setting of the most of his movies is negative.
- Local Hangout: Many of his films have numerous scenes at the caffes.
- Nostalgia Filter: The characters are keen on the very old-fashioned rock'n'roll, clothes and cars.
- Predatory Business: Big business which always marginalises smaller enterprises.
- "Ray of Hope" Ending: Often his characters earn this by their kindness, solidarity and stoicism.
- Retro Universe: Cars, clothes and interior designs - all looks as if it is still The '70s.
- Silence Is Golden: Many of his better characters are quite taciturn.
- Silent Snarker: Sometimes his characters do not even bother to speak but deliver the snark with their facial expressions..
- The Stoic: Many of his characters in various films. They are eager either to stoically struggle or to stoically sustain their cruel fate.
- Two Decades Behind: A glorious case of this.
- Working-Class Hero: Many of those in his films, of course.