Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Movie review: 'Le Havre' quietly laughs at France's immigration issue
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

What happens when the deadpan Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki tackles a serious topic, such as illegal immigration in France? An even more muted comedy.

Marcel Marx (André Wilms), in his 60s, is a carefree shoeshine man living with his mousy wife, Arietty (Kati Outinen, who co-starred in Kaurismäki's "The Man Without a Past"), in the French port city of Le Havre.

One day, French SWAT teams find a shipping container filled with illegal immigrants from Gabon. One of them, a kid named Idrissa (Blondin Miguel), escapes the dragnet and ends up being sheltered by Marcel.

What follows is a droll look at French attitudes toward immigrants, and toward officialdom, as Marcel and some of his neighbors conspire to hide Idrissa from a jaded local cop (Jean-Pierre Darroussin).

Kaurismäki works a palette filled with flat colors and spartan staging, which allows the laughs (quiet chuckles, really) to emerge from our viewing of the still, expression-filled faces of the characters. —


'Le Havre'

Opens Friday, Dec. 9, at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; not rated, but probably PG-13 for language and mature themes; in French with subtitles; 93 minutes.

Article Tools

 Print Friendly
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.