Saturday Films

Sweet Sixteen (UK, 2002, Ken Loach, director): A completely charming mix of hope and despair set in Greenock, a troubled shipyard town about an hour outside of Glasgow. Fifteen-year old Liam spends his time trying to scrounge enough money to buy a caravan (trailer) for his mom and him to live in when she’s released from prison. He needs money fast, and decides to cut in on his mom’s boyfriend’s heroin trade. Of course, he’s soon in way over his head. Among the rest of the non-professional cast, Martin Compston’s performance floored me. He captures that period between childhood and adulthood with just the right mix of emotions. He was sitting in the seat right behind me and when the film was over, I turned to him, speechless, and just shook his hand. 10/10

The Man Without A Past (Finland, 2002, Aki Kaurismäki, director): This sweet-natured film tells the story of a man given a fresh start. After being brutally mugged, the man loses his memory and has to rebuild his life. Without a job or money, he lands among the poorest of Helsinki’s denizens, living in a cargo container by the docks. He meets and falls in love with a Salvation Army worker, and this relationship in particular made the film seem like an old 50s melodrama. The warm lighting and bright colours added to the romantic feel. This little twist of irony, as well as a generous helping of deadpan humour, had me smiling even as our hero struggled against the prejudices of a society unable to trust a man without a name. 9/10

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