Artists -- France -- Paris -- Drama, Scenes de la vie de Boheme -- Film and video adaptations

La vie de Bohème


Matti Pellonpää, Evelyne Didi, André Wilms, Kari Väänänen,

Forget Puccini: Kaurismäki declared that his aim in this film was to rescue Henri Murger’s novel Scènes de la vie de Bohème from the opera and its bourgeois proprieties. As usual with Kaurismäki, the effort is both ironic and improbably sincere. In a black-and-white Paris of timeless shabbiness, dotted with dreary cafes that might as well be in Helsinki, three impoverished artistes—an Albanian painter (Matti Pellonpää), a French writer (André Wilms), and an Irish composer (Kari Väänänen)—struggle against landlords, immigration officials, and a constant shortage of cash to sustain themselves, their loves, and, above all, their art. That their art is pretty awful only adds to the movie’s deadpan pleasures. Kaurismäki knows how to work the fine line between romantic male dignity and self-mockery, as does Jean-Pierre Léaud, who puts in brief but significant appearances as a tuxedoed deus ex machina.

Juliet Clark
  • Aki Kaurismäki
Based On
  • the novel Scènes de la vie de Bohème by Henri Murger

  • Timo Salminen
  • French
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 100 mins
  • Janus Films

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View La vie de Bohème documents  

La vie de Bohème (review), Film Journal International, Liza Béar, 1993

La vie de Bohème (program note), San Francisco International Film Festival, Alicia Springer, 1993

La vie de Bohème (program note), Vancouver International Film Festival, 1993

La vie de Bohème (press kit), Kino International Corporation, Aki Kaurismäki

La vie de Bohème (press kit), Finnish Film Foundation, Aki Kaurismäki

Displaying 5 of 5 publicly available documents.

View all La vie de Bohème documentation on CineFiles.