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November 9, 2011 / California Film Institute Blog

Le Havre

“Le Havre”, directed and written by Aki Kaurismaki, is a film with well defined characters and a simplistic plot. Taking place in the inviting setting of a Fench port city called “Le Havre”, the story focuses in on an elderly, working class shoe-shiner named Marcel Marx (played by André Wilms) who lives with his loving wife, Arletty (Kati Outinen). Marcel finds warmth and joy in all the people in his life despite his profession giving him just enough to get by. His life takes a turn when his wife becomes and ill and he must send her to the hospital. He comes across a young African Boy named Idrissa (Blondin Miguel) one afternoon while eating lunch alone at the harbor. Marcel befriends the boy and soon learns that he is with other illegal immigrants hiding in a shipping container with hopes of making it to London to meet up with his aunt. Marcel voluntarily decides to help Idrissa stay out of sight from authorities but complications quickly arise.

Given a B+ grade from Indiewire and a 90 from Los Angeles Times, “Le Havre” is a great option for movie night. “Le Havre” is playing at the Chirstopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center this weekend, be sure to check it out!


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