Film director Aki Kaurismäki has no great love for current US foreign policy, and so it was perhaps not a huge surprise that he refused to allow his film Laitakaupungin valot (Lights in the Dusk) to go forward as the Finnish nomination for this year's Academy Awards.
He phoned the managing director of Suomen Filmikamari, who would be sending the formal nomination to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, to state that he would not sign the necessary documents. Hence the film will not be among those in the pre-selection for the Best Foreign-Language Picture category at next year's Oscars.
The films that are shortlisted in this category are all put forward by national film organisations, and the final list is made public in January.
No permission had been sought from Kaurismäki beforehand. There is nothing very unusual about this, but it might have been clear from Kaurismäki's earlier behaviour that he should have been consulted: in 2003 his film Mies vailla menneisyyttä (Man Without a Past) was among the five final nominees for Best Foreign-Language Picture, but the director flatly refused to go to the Oscar Gala and announced that he would not accept the prize statue even if the film was chosen.
His intervention with this latest film comes at a time when it is now too late to choose another in its stead. The expert jury picked Laitakaupungin valot unanimously on September 19th.