Aki Kaurismäki’s Fallen Leaves Emerges Victorious in 2023 Fipresci Grand Prix
The famed Finnish film director’s Fallen Leaves wins big in the 2023 Fipresci Grand Prix, receiving the prestigious honour of best film of the past year. By: Theng Min Yee
Aki Kaurismäki's acclaimed film Fallen Leaves, recipient of the Cannes Jury Prize, has captured the prestigious 2023 International Federation of Film Critics (Fipresci) Grand Prix for the best film of the past year. The award, recognizing cinematic excellence, considered all films released after July 1, 2022.
The honour will be formally presented to Kaurismäki during the opening night gala ceremony of the San Sebastian Film Festival on September 22, upholding a tradition dating back to 1999. Fallen Leaves will also be showcased in the Perlak section of San Sebastian, highlighting the festival's finest selections.
The Fipresci Grand Prix emerged from a selection process involving 669 Fipresci members, who evaluated three finalists. Alongside Fallen Leaves, the other contenders were The Banshees of Inisherin by Martin McDonagh and Tár by Todd Field. The triumph of Fallen Leaves mirrors the widespread critical acclaim it received at Cannes.
This marks the second instance that Kaurismäki has been bestowed with this international critics' recognition, following his win in 2017 for The Other Side of Hope.
A part of Kaurismäki's working-class quartet, Fallen Leaves is the fourth instalment, succeeding Shadows in Paradise, Ariel, and The Match Factory Girl. The narrative revolves around Ansa, a supermarket worker dismissed for giving expired food to a homeless individual, and Holappa, a construction labourer struggling with alcoholism and job loss. Their connection deepens gradually, culminating in an ultimatum posed by Ansa: Holappa must choose between his drinking habits and their relationship.
Applauded by critics for embodying Kaurismäki's trademark elements, including deadpan humour and unique one-liners, Fallen Leaves maintains the Finnish director's consistent auteurism vision spanning three decades. The film, distributed by The Match Factory, received significant attention after its successful premiere at Cannes. TMF's parent company, MUBI, secured rights for major markets, including North America. The film's pre-sales also garnered substantial interest.
Fipresci Grand Prix reaffirms the film's impact and celebrates the artistry of Kaurismäki's storytelling prowess.
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