Wednesday, March 16, 2011

WIP Wednesday: The Match Factory Girl (Aki Kaurismäki, 1990)

Okey, this is not your typical WIP film, as there is no "prison" but it does carry off the typical themes quite nicely. If one really wants to make a statement about the WIP genre it might be that it describes the abuse of women who do not fit the typical role society expects of them. Like the convent, prison is the place for unwanted females. In many ways The Match Factory Girl follows this in a semi-Marxist manner.

For a long while this has been one of my favorite films. Iris (Kati Outinen) is a factory worker saddled with two parents who are either retired or disabled in some way. She does all the cooking and cleaning at home, and all of her pay goes to her parents. In the factory she does typical, repetitive factory work. She goes to dances, but is rather plain and shy, until one pay day she finds a dress in a store window. She buys it, and is soundly beaten by her parents for wasting money. None the less, she wears it to the next dance and attracts the attention of local Lothario, Aarne (Vesa Vierikko). He loves her and leaves her. Men, eh? When Iris discovers she is pregnant things take a definite turn. Lives will be changed, in a matter of speaking.

Apparently, this has recently been released on DVD in a triple feature of Kaurismäki films. This film is, in my opinion, a work of beauty. If I remember correctly, no one speaks until around twenty minutes in. It is moody, dark and funny. One of the best features is that while you feel empathy for Iris, it is not in the typical fashion. You likely would not approach her either. She isn't some hidden gem that just needs a hair-style change; she really is plain and timid.

Unfortunately, this is not on Netflix yet, though they have it in the "we don't know when/if we'll get it" section. It really is an awesome film, and well worth seeking out. Come pay day I'll be ordering it. :-)

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