Thursday, February 2, 2012

Le Havre

A childlike yet streetwise shoe shiner in the French harbor town of the title comes across a young Senegalese boy who has just escaped deportation and is trying to reach his family in London. Pooling his resources, even with his sick and loving wife in the hospital, the man along with the other members of the community decide to assist the boy in his travels. "Le Havre" is  from Aki Kaurismaki who, with his starkly painted town and gentle lightheartend tone, creates an evocative atmosphere while making a subtle statement on immigration and general humanity. As the old rascal, Andre Wilms is exceptionally fine and has his best moment in a scene where he improbably threatens a local official. Blondin Miguel also contributes fine work as the boy and Kati Outinen is great as well as Wilms' protective wife. "Le Havre" is a genial if unspectacular film that, if nothing else, succeeds in celebrating the human spirit.