Match Factory Girl, The

Made in 1990, Tulitikkutehtaan Tytto (The Match Factory Girl) is one of the key works that brought Aki Kaurismaki international acclaim. The film raises the issues of poverty and deprivation in a tone reminiscent of Andersen's caustic fables. Focusing on the landscapes and people of bleak and icy Finland, Kaurismaki points out the "other" reality of his country like all other great directors. Finland, land of forests and "white lilies", is today home to the Nokia miracle and soaring stock market values. But here the audience is confronted head-on with the country's other remorseless face, its characteristic cold-heartedness. Iris, a worker at the match factory, has a life as brutal and cold as the northern winter. She pays rent to live with her mother and step-father and endures a routine at the factory as demanding as it is monotonous. Every aspect of her life is so far removed from the human dimension that we, the audience, gradually become as emotionally numb as Iris. Like the little girl in Andersen's tale, who chases dreams of warmth and happiness in the flame of a match, Iris fantasizes about a life of bliss. She battles against her icy fate. She falls in love with a rich man, except he turns out to be as stony as everything else in her life. Iris is defeated. Her feelings gradually harden and she gives vent to her hatred for life and everything around her in vengeful cold-bloodednesss. The film resonates with long-lost melodies: local tangos reflecting lives devoid of emotion, tones of melancholy, loneliness and the vain search for happiness. Kaurismaki is a world-class director with a serious interest in music; a director who uses music as a narrative tool in its own right. And in The Match Factory Girl this quality is particularly in evidence. The Match Factory Girl, the final part of Kaurismaki's "Working Class Trilogy", shares the same powerful backdrop as his other films in the sense of criticising exploitation and social alienation wit

Aki Kaurismäki

Aki Kaurismaki

Timo Salminen

Aki Kaurismaki

Villealfa Filmproductions Oy / Aki Kaurismäki

Elina Salo
Esko Nikkari
Kati Outinen
Vesa Vierikko

Reijo Taipale

Best Director
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress Jussi Awards
Interfilm Award
OCIC Award-Honorable Mention Berlin - Best Actress

10th Festival on Wheels