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Le Havre (Criterion) (Bilingual) [Blu-ray] (Version française)

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: André Wilms, Blondin Miguel, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Kati Outinen, Elina Salo
  • Directors: Aki Kaurismäki
  • Writers: Aki Kaurismäki
  • Producers: Aki Kaurismäki, Fabienne Vonier, Hanna Hemilä, Karl Baumgartner, Reinhard Brundig
  • Format: DTS Surround Sound, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: July 31 2012
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B007USWD0U
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #5,814 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

In this warmhearted comic yarn from Aki Kaurismäki (The Match Factory Girl), fate throws the young African refugee Idrissa (Blondin Miguel) into the path of Marcel Marx (La vie de bohème’s André Wilms), a kindly bohemian who shines shoes for a living, in the French harbor city Le Havre. With inborn optimism and the support of most of his tight-knit community, Marcel stands up to the officials doggedly pursuing the boy for deportation. A political fairy tale that exists somewhere between the reality of contemporary France and the classic French cinema of the past, especially the poetic realist works of Jean Duvivier and Marcel Carné, Le Havre is a charming, deadpan delight and one of the Finnish director’s finest films.

SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES • New high-definition digital transfer, approved by director Aki Kaurismäki, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition • New interview with actor André Wilms • Cannes Film Festival press conference from 2011, featuring cast and crew • French television interview with Kaurismäki, Wilms, and actors Jean-Pierre Darroussin and Kati Outinen • Concert footage of Little Bob, the rock group featured in the film • Trailer • New English subtitle translation • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Michael Sicinski

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray
This is one of those feel good films that has something for nearly everyone. It is bout Marcel Marx Andre Wilms (‘Europa, Europa’ –also excellent), who scratches a living doing shoe shines in the port of Le Havre. He has a coterie of friends, mostly poor, and a doting wife Arletty, who is covering up her illness from him.

One day a runaway illegal immigrant or ‘irregular’ as we now say comes to his attention. Whilst the media portray this boy, Idrissa, as a possible terrorist, Marcel sees a frightened lonely child who needs help. Despite being chased by the police, Marcel takes all the risks he can to help him. The boy’s mother is in London and that is where he wants to get, but with no money and no clue of how to do so.

What happens next is both life affirming and heart warming, some may say too much so. However I was swept along by this beautifully paced and told story. The acting is all spot on, and I particularly like the lack of pretty actors, this is a proper slice of life and has a very cosmopolitan attitude to modern day France and its attitude to immigration. We even get a sort of charity gig at one point which is where ‘Little Bob’ comes in and he makes ‘the Stones’ look a bit spritely – God bless him.

Directed and written by Aki Kaurismaki this is one of those films that will leave you with a nice war feeling inside and a desire to see more of his films, which are not prolific enough. So if a bit of Gallic spirit and humour all wrapped up in a feel good factor is your thing then you really can not go wrong with this brilliant piece of cinema.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The film used pathos, humour and a low-key quiet dignity to show that individuals can resist and overcome unfeeling government policies.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x974156fc) out of 5 stars 48 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98109888) out of 5 stars Observing the ordinary lives in Le Havre Dec 29 2011
By Paul Allaer - Published on Amazon.com
In 1992 Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki made his first French movie, "La Vie de Bohème", and now almost 20 years later he returns with a second French-language movie.

"Le Havre" (93 min.) centers around the ordinary lives of people like Marcel Marx (which character incidentally also appears in La Vie de Boheme and where he also was played by André Wilms). Marx tries to get by as a shoe-shiner, but life is hard. The house he and his wife Arletty have is modest at best. Then one day a group of illegal immigrants from Gabon are found in a container waiting to be shipped to London. A teenage boy manages to escape the police and eventually the boy and Marcel Marx link up. I don't want to spoil the plot any further than this, you'll just have to see how it all plays out for yourself.

This is not an "action" movie. Instead, it observes the ordinary lives of ordinary people, and in addition it is a love note of sorts to the city of Le Havre, which, like the characters in this movie, has seen better days but remains resilient. This movie was very well received at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, and it is easy to see why. The acting is superb throughout, none better than by lead actor André Wilms. I enjoyed this movie from start to finish, but obviously this is not for anyone in a hurry or looking for the next Harry Potter franchise. Highly recommended!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x977de09c) out of 5 stars Warmly haunting Jan. 21 2012
By Tempest Tost - Published on Amazon.com
Director Kaurismäki has created a story that is appealing as you watch it, but whose images and motifs will linger with you for days after you see it. His use of colour and lighting makes this visually alluring and his choices in casting have given him a pallet of wonderful faces to explore in his artistic manner. I had the impression at times of seeing a series of paintings of the Old Masters in an Art Gallery.In addition, there is a gentleness and a timelessness about this film which lifts it beyond the confines of its plot and setting. As other reviewers have stated this is not an action film as its plot is neither frenetic, nor full of the normal thrills many movie goers seek in such films.Another strength of this film is the strong acting from all members of the cast. There is a wonderful French feel about this film and many of the shots of the port city are quite lovely. I highly recommend it to those who are seeking more than simple entertainment and who would like to have a beautiful artistic experience.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x977a2f90) out of 5 stars Miracles Do Happen in "Le Havre" May 2 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
The story of Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki's latest work takes place in Le Havre, a port city in north-western France. A former Bohemian artist Marcel Marx (Andre Wilms) makes a living as a shoeshine with his Vietnamese assistance Chang (Quoc Dung Nguyen). He may not be rich, but with his loving wife Arletty (Kati Outinen) his life is not bad.

One day Marcel meets Idrissa (Blondin Miguel), a young refugee boy from Gabon running away from the police. While Marcel decides to raise money so that the boy can meet his mother in London, Arletty, ill and now in the hospital, conceals a fact that she knows would shock her husband.

The theme of "Le Havre" overlaps that of a 2009 French film "Welcome," but Kaurismäki's approach is less political, focusing the everyday life of ordinary people, described with Kaurismäki's deadpan humor/sentimentality. Kaurismäki's longtime photographer Timo Salminen's careful use of muted colors is another plus, adding a realistic touch to the modern-day fable.

André Wilms (who 20 years ago played "Marcel," a down-and-out artist in Paris in Kaurismäki's "La Vie de Bohème") turns in quiet and understated performance as the aged shoe shiner determined to do something for the boy. Kati Outinen, the director's muse since the 1980s, is also outstanding as the protagonist's ailing wife, and so is Jean-Pierre Darroussin as Monet, softer version of Inspector Javert trying to catch the boy.

I like the film for its positive, life-affirming message, though I for one prefer such films as "The Man without a Past" and "Ariel," in which darker events happen and characters have to struggle more. Perhaps with an exception of cameo Jean-Pierre Léaud, there is no "villain" in "Le Havre," which marks a new phase in the respected director's long career.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x974bd87c) out of 5 stars A small gem of a film Aug. 20 2012
By M. Oleson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray
Criterion has done another great job rescuing a little seen gem from Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki. Set on the French coastal port of Le Havre, an aging Marcel (Andre Wilms) ekes out a living on the street as a shoe shiner. He lives in a small apartment in a poor neighborhood with several small markets nearby.

A cargo ship unloads a container ultimately headed for London. Authorities discover it contains 20 or so people from North Africa. One teen age boy (Blondin Miguel) manages to get away and finds his way to Marcel while he is having his lunch. Marcel shelters and feeds the boy even though he worries about the authorities ultimately catching him and deporting him back to Africa. He also has to contend with his wife (Kati Outinen) who is in the hospital for what appears to be stomach cancer. Her prognosis is grim but she hides the probable outcome from Marcel.

Using his sympathetic neighbors and an unlikely police detective (Jean-Pierre Darroussin) for support, Marcel finds out that young Idrissa was enroute to London to reunite with his mother. He manages to get a neighbor and former headliner rock musician Little Bob to hold a fund raiser in order to pay to have the boy smuggled into England. Kaurismaki, who also wrote the script, never plays this too serious. But it's not a comedy either. You really have to think of it more as a fantasy. And a good one it is. The film ends with an unexpected surprise. Check it out.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x973552c4) out of 5 stars One of the Best Modern French Films Dec 4 2012
By James Ellsworth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
This film shows the best of the 'heart' of the French people under the onslaught of African immigration. It is both beautiful in its atmospheric cinematography and classically well-acted as well. A humble man with a very sick wife has the chance to rescue a wonderful young boy. Well...the wife is too sick to know anything about what happens... but in this script her husband is superb in his humanity. This is so different than the 'hip' and 'cynical' French films we are used to admiring! I can't believe how often I plan to use 'superb' in this review. The cinematographyand the sets are as evocative as any Francophile could wish. The characters are 'true to life', not the least because this is a French film for a French audience. The ensemble is beautiful, marvelous and genuinely heart-warming. I have rarely seen a film as worthy of viewing as is this one.