"Take Care of Your Scarf, Tatiana"
Directed by Aki Kaurismäki.
Written by Aki Kaurismäki and Sakke Järvenpää.
Starring Kati Outinen and Matti Pellonpää.
Release Year: 1994
Review Date: 7/16/03
My friend Heidi and her boyfriend Boaz were
up for a flick Sunday, but not one of the Hollywood blockbuster
variety. Oh no, she wanted to see something…oh, Finnish.
Actually, I got this invite because I loved
Finn director Aki Kaurismaki’s most recent film,
“A Man Without a
Past”, and the Pacific Film Archive was doing screenings of Aki’s
older works in Berkeley, so I wanted to hang out and see what else
the man had to offer. As it turned out, I can say that at least the
company was quite nice.
The 1994 “Take Care of Your Scarf, Tatiana”
is bleak, much like “Past” was bleak, but features characters that
just don’t connect. You have a coffee addict that loves to sew (Mato
Valtonen), a mechanic that loves to pound moonshine (Matti Pellonpaa),
and two women who need to get to a boat within a couple of days: a
Russian (Kirsi Tykkylainen) and an Estonian named Tatiana (played by
recent Cannes Best Actress winner Kati Outinen). The whole of the
movie--and, by “whole”, I mean 45 of the film’s 60-minute total
running time; I thought “Passenger 57” was short!--is spent with
these four characters driving around, not talking but getting to
know each other through habit.
I did love the sparse details of
Kaurismaki’s framing; this is a Finland that feels desolate, quiet,
unpopulated, and without much of an ambient soundtrack things are
quiet throughout. The director clearly loves American
rock-and-roll, though, so we get a couple of strange,
quirky-yet-misplaced sequences with the characters rockin’ out to
tunes they hear on the radio or at a nighttime gathering. It
reminds you of a scene out of “Twin Peaks” more than your most
recent Saturday night, and I thought that was a bad thing for this
There are some sparse funny moments, but
otherwise, the film is mostly forgettable. Be sure to check out
“The Man Without a Past”, though; a great film featuring many of the
same elements with much better execution.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard