For Le Havre (Criterion), Aki Kaurismäki takes his dry, darkly funny perspective on the gloomy lives of working folk from his native Finland to the French port city of Le Havre. The change in climate seems to have warmed his outlook. This low-key tale of a shoeshine man (André Wilms) who takes in a runaway African boy (Blondin Miguel) is set against a culture of unemployment, poverty, and loss. Yet generosity blooms in this family of a community that bands together to protect the boy. Kaurismäki directs with the same deadpan directness as always but offers a brighter spirit that lights up the entire film.
Blu-ray and DVD, with a new interview with actor André Wilms, footage from the 2011 Cannes Film Festival press conference with Kaurismäki and members of the cast, a French television interview with Kaurismäki and actors Wilms, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, and Kati Outinen (also from Cannes), a interview with Kati Outinen from Finnish TV, and concert footage of Little Bob (the rock group featured in the film). Also includes the original trailer and a booklet with an essay by film critic Michael Sicinski and a print interview with Kaurismäki.