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Le Havre - January 11th at 7.45

Aki Kaurismaki            France 2012     Certificate PG with subtitles

When young African immigrant (Miguel) meets elderly shoeshine man, Marcel (Wilms), in the port town of Le Havre, the pair strikes up an unlikely friendship.

Le Havre
From Cinema Paradiso to Central Station, the pairing of a crusty old-timer with a doe-eyed child has long been a recipe for fondant-centred arthouse success. Le Havre is no different, even if it comes from the singular imagination of Finnish oddball Aki Kaurismäki. Elderly beatnik shoeshiner Marcel’s (André Wilms) sleepy existence in the harbour town of Le Havre is given renewed purpose when he becomes the reluctant protector of an illegal child immigrant (Blondin Miguel) from Africa. Gently redemptive and worthily humane, this feels like the first Kaurismäki film you could take your gran to see — happily, enough of the director’s reliably deadpan wit and cockeyed worldview survive the sweetening to make it a pleasure for the cinephile set, too.