This chapter examines nationality in Aki Kaurismäki's cinema. One way of contextualising the national dimensions of Kaurismäki's cinema is to analyse it as an instance of small-nation cinema circulating in the realms of a transnational, world cinema. Small-nation cinema is a term elaborated by Mette Hjort, which emphasises the way film production is enhanced and broadened through institutional innovation and creative leadership. Kaurismäki has used the film festivals to advance Finnish cinema as a small-nation cinema, not only through the construction of his own reputation at the film festivals, but also through his work and development of the Midnight Sun Festival, which he founded with his brother Mika, their collaborator Peter von Bagh, and the municipality of Sodankylä in the far north of Finland. Through invitations to many prominent figures in auteur cinema, Kaurismäki has created a consistent cultural input into his own cinema and Finnish cinema, developed a widespread professional network, and established a reputation as a distinct figure for his exotic cultural background in Finland.
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