I watched Shadows in Paradise and Ariel recently, which are the first two films in the Proletariat Trilogy, all written and directed by Aki Kaurismäki. I love those two so I had to finish the trilogy off and of course this is probably the weakest one, but it’s still powerful. The third film in trilogies tends to be the weakest but it’s not too drastic in this case. It’s just not as entertaining as the first two, which is a tall task. Kaurismäki often uses his hometown of Helsinki, Finland for the setting of his films and that’s where we are for the entire trilogy even though they have no connection to one another.
The Match Factory Girl focuses heavily on Iris, who works a job that is honestly frustrating as hell. She watches boxes go by in an assembly line all day with literally nothing exciting happening ever. She goes out to dance bars on the weekends and returns to the doldrums during the week. It’s sad to watch and things get even worse when she meets a dude named Aarne who she mistakenly believes to be her boyfriend. Iris sees rage as her only way out.
Kati Outinen carries The Match Factory Girl as Iris and she makes you feel the dullness in her life. The first two films in the trilogy have some really sad moments, but this one felt pretty bleak throughout as the factory is shot with so much patience and each character barely knows how to smile. It’s a short film but it burns slow with really formative moments happening in Iris’s life. The Proletariat Trilogy is definitely something I recommend if you like dramatic dark humor, but it gets pretty deep at times and flirts with other genres. The Match Factory Girl has the stuff there to make an impact, but it’s not the kind of impact we’re used to.