Feature Film and Documentary on the Migrant Crisis in Europe: Le Havre, Aki Kaurismäki, 2011, 93 min.
From the Columbia Maison Française series “Filming at the Borders: Migrating to Europe Today”
WHC Auditorium, 53 Wall Street, New Haven, CT
Introduced by Morgane Cadieu and followed with remarks by Seyla Benhabib & Dudley Andrew
Genre: Fiction, Drama. Finnish-German-French co-production. Filmed in France. Language: French, with English subtitles.
In this warmhearted portrait of the French harbor city that gives the film its name, fate throws young African refugee Idrissa (Blondin Miguel) into the path of Marcel Marx (André Wilms), a well spoken
bohemian who works as a shoe-shiner. With innate optimism and the unwavering support of his community, Marcel stands up to officials doggedly pursuing the boy for deportation. A political fairy tale that exists somewhere between the reality of contemporary France and the classic cinema of Jean-Pierre Melville and Marcel Carné, Le Havre is a charming, deadpan delight.
Le Havre premiered in the Official Selection at Festival de Cannes, where it received the Fipresci Prize and was also presented in Official Selection at Locarno, Toronto and New York festivals. Le Havre was then theatrically released in 43 countries. Internationally acclaimed Finnish director Kaurismäki - who chose to shoot Le Havre directly in French - was, by 2004, one of the first European filmmakers to dedicate a feature to the subject of the refugees: “European cinema has not much addressed the continuously worsening financial, political, and above all, moral crisis that has led to the ever-unsolved question of refugees; refugees trying to find their way into the EU from abroad, and their irregular, often substandard treatment. I have no answer to this problem but I still wanted to deal with the matter in this film.” (Aki Kaurismäki)
Special support for this screening is provided by the Department of French, The Whitney Humanities Center, Film and Media Studies, The European Studies Council of The MacMillan Center with thanks to curator Nora Philippe and the Columbia University Maison Française