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The Man Without A Past Review

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Beaten half to death the moment he arrives in town, M is suffering from amnesia when he's taken in by a poor family living in a makeshift container unit. Unexpectedly, he finds love in the shape of Irma, an officer in the Salvation Army.

★★★★

There are those who would argue that Aki Kaurismõki was robbed of the Palme D'Or at last year's Cannes Film Festival. Not because The Man Without A Past is the type of film that loudly proclaims its presence - its delights are far more subtle and understated. Rather, because the Finnish director, following up Drifting Clouds, has at last transcended the tiny cult status he won with the likes of Leningrad Cowboys Go America, I Hired A Contract Killer and Take Care Of Your Scarf, Tatjana.

Peltola, in his first leading role, is wonderful as a man wiped clean of all personality baggage and responsibilities. When he removes his hospital bandages, he might as well be the Invisible Man. Here's someone who is happy to live in the present, with no thought for the future - although the film's noir-ish title tips us off that the past is only waiting to pounce.

A compassionate study of margin dwellers whose struggles for something to cling to are laced with social insight and deadpan humour.