Director: Aki Kaurismäki
Writer: Aki Kaurismäki
The Match Factory Girl (Finnish: Tulitikkutehtaan tyttö) is a 1990 Finnish-Swedish film written and directed by Aki Kaurismäki, the final installment from his Proletariat Trilogy, after his Shadows in Paradise and Ariel. It follows Iris, a young, plain-looking factory worker living a lonely, impoverished and uneventful life in late 1980s Finland. – wikipdepia
I found this film to be delightfully minimalistic, Iris’ innocence is completely shattered by the harsh reality of life as she grows into a woman.
I thoroughly enjoyed this film and it has definitely become one of my favorites, the exploration of a working class girl who is expected to provide for her parents and receive nothing in return is expertly done. The minimal dialogue and focus on the dreariness of Iris’ working class life is a very effective narrative.
Iris is a simple working class woman who has simple working class desires, she searches for a partner in life and love only to be at first rejected, the chewed up and spat out by a cold unfeeling upper class middle aged balding man.
Roger Ebert wrote that “he watched hypnotically. Few films are ever this unremittingly unyielding…What made it more mesmerizing is that it’s all on the same tonal level: Iris passively endures a series of humiliations, cruelties and dismissals.” –wikipedia
When life gives us lemons most of us hope that there is something better out there, we try to improve ourselves even through the harshness and selfishness of our fellow human beings we see a light. Why do we do this? Iris refuses to answer this question, or even contemplate it.
The Match Factory Girl has been added to the criterion collection and has won various awards, a complete list can be found here
I recommend this film without hesitation and give it a wholehearted 7 out of 10.