The titan of Finnish cinema, Aki Kaurismaki, returns with “Fallen Leaves,” his inimitable take on Leo McCarey’s ‘An Affair to Remember” and the occasional nod to David Lean’s “Brief Encounter.” However, you won’t find references to vichyssoise or crepe suzette here. Kaurismaki has always drawn his stories from the Finnish working class.
True to form, “Fallen Leaves” opens with our heroine (Alma Poysti) being fired from her supermarket job because she dared to eat a past-date sandwich that was about to be thrown out anyway. When, on impulse, she decides to visit a karaoke bar on the way home, she meets Holappa (Jussi Vatanen), and they immediately click. Unfortunately, like Deborah and Cary (and Celia and Trevor), fate will put quite a few obstacles in their paths before they see one another again. The leads are just about perfect, and the film is animated at every turn by the director’s usual penchant for deadpan humor.