COMMENTARY: Aki Kaurismäki's bizarre interview
By Esa Mäkinen
The British newspaper The Guardian published an interview on Wednesday with an intoxicated Aki Kaurismäki.
“The only way for mankind to get out of this misery is to kill the 1% who own everything. The 1% who have put us in the position where humanity has no value”, the film director said.
The interview was whimsical and confirmed the public image that Kaurismäki has created of himself as an unpredictable leftist intellectual. The interview with The Guardian might even have been a calculated act on Kaurismäki’s part to reinforce his personal brand in Britain.
I sent an e-mail to Kaurismäki in order to ask him if he was serious. There was no answer.
If he is serious, the statement is repulsive.
Many probably consider Kaurismäki’s comment to be humour and part of the essence of being an artist.
Over the years Kaurismäki has said outrageous things in interviews, and his comments have often been downplayed. The artist is being protected from himself, as it were.
Outside of making wonderful films, the analytical contributions of Academician Kaurismäki to public debate have been rather non-existent.
I may lack a sense of humour but it is not right to joke about the killing of any population group.
Finns Party MP Jussi Halla-aho endorsed a military junta and tanks for Greece, and that sparked a controversy. He later explained that his statements were expressions of sarcasm.
According to the article in The Guardian, Kaurismäki wants to provoke, and he pushes the boundaries of the journalists. Why should Kaurismäki’s utterings be shrugged off as humour if Halla-aho sparks moral outrage?
In the future everyone in the Finns Party will be able to rattle off anything, and to justify it by pointing to what Kaurismäki has said.
Or then we could just agree that instead of an academician of the arts, Kaurismäki should be referred to as a somewhat sad culture figure whose words need not be taken seriously.
Helsingin Sanomat / First published in print 6.4.2012
Previously in HS International Edition:
Aki Kaurismäki named as youngest Academician of Art (23.5.2008)
Kaurismäki´s Le Havre wins International Critics´ Prize at Cannes (23.5.2011)
New Kaurismäki film with refugee theme debuts at Cannes festival (18.5.2011)
The Guardian: Seven rounds with Aki Kaurismäki (April 4th, 2012)
ESA MÄKINEN / Helsingin Sanomat