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Showing posts from April, 2018

Crime and Punishment

A note on a film: Crime and Punishment (1983)
In a particularly impressive stroke, Kaurismäki's film - his first as director - begins with a scene taking place in some anonymous Helsinki slaughter house. In close-up, an insect crawls across a blood-splattered plinth. Almost immediately, a cleaver comes down and cuts the bug in two. Ominous music begins to overwhelm the soundtrack as we're subjected to an onslaught of emotionless, repetitive slaughter; a montage of drab, impassive young men in overalls cleaning meat from bone, sawing through sinew and hosing down pools of blood collected under a procession of strung-up animal carcasses.
This first scene introduces us to our central character, Rahikainen; a former lawyer turned butcher, still haunted by the loss of his young fiancé some several years before. However, it also introduces us to the theme of murder, central to both Kaurismäki's film, and the 1866 novel by Dostoevsky on which it is based. More specifically, it intr…