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The Cinema of Aki KaurismäkiContrarian Stories$
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Andrew Nestingen

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231165594

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231165594.001.0001

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The Nostalgic

The Nostalgic

(p.87) Chapter Three The Nostalgic
The Cinema of Aki Kaurismäki

Andrew Nestingen

Columbia University Press

This chapter explores Aki Kaurismäki's nostalgia. Kaurismäki's films offer much evidence of nostalgia in their aesthetics, mise-en-scène, and characters' attitudes. In bringing the past into the present, Kaurismäki's nostalgia transformatively produces contrasts and comparisons that generate different perspectives on discussions of nostalgia. Commentators have played the nostalgia card in discussions about Kaurismäki's cinema innumerable times. Some have emphasised an emotional register, while others have read the nostalgia as a moral critique. Some have seen it as an aesthetic critique, while another view understands the nostalgia as an archiving project. These arguments share the claim that the object of the director's nostalgia is the Finnish past. In a sense, they also argue that Kaurismäki's cinema is a ‘musealizing’ discourse, whose importance lies in its access to the reservoir of authority held in the national past. The nostalgia story ascribes to Kaurismäki a symbolic opposition to economic and political power, as well as an aspiration to cultural power.

Keywords:   nostalgia, moral critique, aesthetic critique, Finnish past, national past, economic power, political power, cultural power

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