Ariel is the second film in the Proletariat Trilogy. I watched the first film in the trilogy, Shadows in Paradise, which kept me laughing and on the edge of my seat the whole time so I think it’s necessary for me to finish the trilogy. Ariel is a little bit more gritty than Shadows, but you can tell it’s a Kaurismäki film. The films don’t necessarily correlate, but they all center around working class people in Finland.
Taisto is a man who works in the coal mines of Finland until one day when the mine closes and a bunch of men lose their jobs. Taisto’s father encourages him to go to the city for work and then he commits suicide. Taisto acts quickly and goes to the city but finding work isn’t easy so he takes random odd jobs. He finds some hope in a woman named Irmeli, but soon after meeting her, he gets thrown into prison for beating the shit out of a man who gave him trouble earlier in the film. He meets a man named Mikkonen in prison and tells him that he is determined to see Irmeli again, so they hatch an escape plan together.
Ariel is a brilliant film with absolutely no dead space. Every scene is riveting and every performance is spot on. Turo Pajala plays Taisto and carries the film with aggression and confusion. Matti Pellonpää was a frequent collaborator with Kaurismäki before he died in 1995. His role in Ariel isn’t huge but he’s so damn powerful without having to move a muscle. He was also in Shadows in Paradise and I’m starting to really fall in love with his acting. Ariel is extremely poignant but also hilarious at times because of how smooth the writing is. Kaurismäki has me excited about a new director and I can’t wait to see the third film in the Proletariat Trilogy.