While "The Artist" is currently the foreign film/arthouse darling, with Oscar in its sights and audiences lining up to see it, we do hope Aki Kaurismaki's beautiful and brilliant "Le Havre" doesn't get lost in the chatter this fall. The film premiered at Cannes to largely positive reviews and is now in the mix for some awards heat as it has been selected as Finland's official entry for the Foreign Language Film category. However, it looks like Kaurismaki is just getting started on the themes he introduced in "Le Havre" as it's merely the first in a planned trilogy.
According to the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, Kaurismaki revealed in an interview with movie magazine Filmihullu (not online) that he is planning to next shoot in Spain with the third installment to lens in Germany. For the director, who has largely set his films in and around Helsinki — with "Le Havre" taking place in France — it's certainly a big change of pace.
"I'm so bloody lazy that I have to tell everybody I make trilogies. If I didn't, I wouldn't do anything but play cards. But the kind of plan I have will take 10 years," he recently told Indiewire. "It's called 'The Harbor Town' trilogy. I even have a name for the next one. It's called 'The Barber of Vigo.' Vigo is a harbor town is Galicia, Spain. That's all I know. So I'll make another in five years and a third in 10 years so I can retire."
There's no word yet if any of the characters would will recur — we kind of doubt of it, though perhaps Jean-Pierre Darrousin's excellent Monet could get a career promotion — but we'll wager the helmer will continue to explore the issue of immigration from a few different angles.
One of the true pleasures of "Le Havre" was the filmmaker's ability to approach the subject from a place of humanity and heart without any grandstanding or big speeches. "Le Havre" follows a simple man who assists in the plight of a young African boy trying to make it to his family in England, even while his wife is ill in the hospital. The film is entertaining and hilarious on its own, but that undercurrent and quiet, emphatic compassion pushes it into the realm of something truly special. At any rate, any report of a brand new Kaurismaki film is one to savor, but with a promised return to this territory, it makes that prospect all the more exciting.