This chapter examines bohemianism in Aki Kaurismäki's cinema, and identifies the use of bohemianism trope in the Kaurismäki discourse. The term bohemianism has its roots in 1830's Paris, in which the modern bohemians defined themselves against an arriviste bourgeoisie who embraced conservative aesthetic tastes. Kaurismäki has long presented himself as a bohemian filmmaker, and indeed his abiding interest in the theme is indicated clearly by his 1992 La vie de Bohème (The Bohemian Life), an adaptation of Henri Murger's novel. From the beginning of his career, Kaurismäki's work has exhibited fascination with bohemian characters, whether the absurd author Ville Alfa in his screenplay Valehtelija (The Liar, 1981), the criminals that surround Taisto in Ariel (1988), Henri in I Hired a Contract Killer (1990), or the homeless characters in The Man Without a Past (2002). In addition, Kaurismäki has often told the story of his entry into filmmaking and his subsequent career with bohemian tropes: kicked out of the army, homeless, scores of jobs, poor, devoted to his art, an underground filmmaker, micro-budgeted production, and so on.
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