Le Havre

A film by Aki Kaurismäki


Marcel Marx, a former author and a well-known Bohemian, has retreated into a voluntary exile in the port city of Le Havre, where he feels he has reached a closer rapport with the people serving them in the occupation of the honourable, but not too profitable, of a shoe-shiner. He has buried his dreams of a literary breakthrough and lives happily within the triangle of his favourite bar, his work, and his wife Arletty, when fate suddenly throws in his path an underage immigrant refugee from the darkest Africa. As Arletty at the same time gets seriously ill and is bedridden, Marcel once more has to rise against the cold wall of human indifference with his only weapon of innate optimism and the unwavering solidarity of the people of his quartier, but against him stands the whole blind machinery of the Western constitutionally governed state, this time represented by the dragnet of the police, moment by moment drawing closer around the refugee boy. It's time for Marcel to polish his shoes and reveal his teeth.


Marcel Marx : André Wilms
Arletty : Kati Outinen
Monet : Jean-Pierre Darroussin
Idrissa : Blondin Miguel
Claire : Elina Salo
Yvette : Evelyne Didi
Chang : Quoc Dung Nguyen
Laika : Laika
Épicier : François Monnié
Little Bob : Roberto Piazza
Docteur Becker : Pierre Etaix
Dénonciateur : Jean-Pierre Léaud


Written, directed and produced by: Aki Kaurismäki
Executive producers: Fabienne Vonier and Reinhard Brundig
Assistant director: Gilles Charmant
Cinematography: Timo Salminen
Gaffer: Olli Varja
Sound: Tero Malmberg
Set design: Wouter Zoon
Wardrobe: Fred Cambier
Make-up: Valérie Théry-Hamel
Editing: Timo Linnasalo
Location manager: Claire Langmann
Production managers: Rémi Pradinas and Mark Lwoff
Line producers: Stéphane Parthenay and Hanna Hemilä

Production information

In coproduction with ARTE France Cinéma and ZDF/Arte
With the participation of the Finnish Film Foundation, CANAL +, Nordisk Film & TV Fond, the Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée, YLE Coproductions, CINÉ+, ARTE France, the Région Haute-Normandie.
Distribution France: Pyramide
Sales: The Match Factory

Technical information

Finland - France - Germany
Year of production : 2011
Length : 93 mn

Festivals and awards

Official Selection Cannes Film Festival 2011 - Competition Ecumenical Jury prize / Special mention 
FIPRESCI International critics Prize
Official Selection Toronto Film Festival 2011
Louis Delluc Prize 2011 - Best French Movie of the year


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