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Filming at the Borders: Le Havre

General Programming

dateOctober 25, 2016 timeTuesday, 6:30pm EDT location Buell Hall, Maison Française, Columbia University
  • Maison Française
  • European Institute
  • School of the Arts
  • Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought
  • Alliance Program
  • Institute for the Study of Human Rights
  • Institute of African Studies
  • Columbia Global Centers
  • Registration required. See details.
  • Free and open to the public

Le Havre
Aki Kaurismäki, 2011, 93 min.

The film screening will be preceded by an introduction by Professor Annette Insdorf

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)