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Archive for the ‘Man Without a Past; The’ Category

The Man Without a Past – review – Film Comment #94

Film Comment – #94 – The Man Without a Past – Aki Kaurismaki – 2002


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The film opens with a man who is attacked in a park after falling asleep. He awakes and stumbles to a bathroom where he passes out from the trauma. The next thing the man knows he is in a hospital, left for dead. He wakes up with no recollection of who he is, or what has happened to him. He flees the hospital with no idea where to go or who to turn to. He soon meets random characters, who for some reason feel the need to help him and take care of him. All of the people he meets are just as hard up, living in garbage dumpsters, and big rig truck containers, but they are all good at heart. Soon he begins to live a new life.
He attempts to become a member of society but hits roadblocks along the way. The people at the employment agency can’t help him, because he can’t remember his social security number. They cast him away believing he is a drug addict. He soon is helped by a woman who works at the Salvation Army, and given a job. For some reason everyone he meets along the way are strangely attracted to him. The cast of characters and situations he gets himself in to get stranger and stranger along the way, as he attempts to find out who he really is.

There are some truly great scenes in which the man has hooked up a Wurlitzer in his little trailer, that he scraped enough money together to rent. He plays songs as he invites his new found friends over to listen. The directors camera movements and framing are like a three act play as the truth slowly leaks out piece by piece.
“The Man Without a Past” is the second installment of a trilogy that includes “Drifting Clouds”, and “Lights in the Dusk”. If either of those is as good as this one then they are definitely worth checking out. FYI the film also boasts a 98 on rottentomatoes.com. Pretty impressive.
Grade: B+