Released in 2002, Aki Kaurismaki’s ‘The Man Without a Past’ (Mies vailla menneisyyttä) is an Oscar-nominated foreign language (Finnish) film very popular for the director’s unique style of film-making and story-telling.
It is the second in the Finland trilogy, others being the Drifting Clouds (1996) and Lights in the Dusk (2006).
The film introduces a man (Markku Peltola) who is brutally mugged and who has lost all his memory but only to find himself left in a world where he has to fight for survival. It follows the adventure of this man with no memory of his past, with no name, no family, and no job but with zeal to start a new life.
He starts his life from scratch, with the help of a family of four in a strange place, and also the kindness of the Salvation Army woman named Irma, with whom he later ends up falling in love with. However, this is not all; while in search of a new job he not only discovers his skills as a welder but also his love for vintage rock.
More importantly, films like ‘The Man Without a Past’ captures the pace of life in an effortless manner with low-key melodrama.
What you see in the film is all unique and Aki Kaurismaki’s signature style of filmmaking where he lets his characters develop on-screen as just a natural state with no such fancy but as an eternal truth of human nature. This one along with his other films is known for less drama, deadpan humor with a whole lot of hilarity and heartbreak.