Everyone smokes too much in Kaurismäki’s sweet-natured comedy about Koistinen (Janne Hyytiäinen), a lonely night watchman at a shopping mall who declares that he has no friends — not out of self-pity, but because it’s the sad truth. Only the woman who sells him hot dogs from her wurst stand (Maria Heiskanen) shows him any kindness, but he rebuffs even that. When a blonde femme fatale (Maria Järvenhelmi) appears to take interest in him, a stilted would-be romance ensues, which is soon revealed to be part of a plot to rob the mall. The most canine-oriented of all filmmakers, Kaurismäki complicates the story of Koistinen’s subsequent downward spiral into prison and homelessness with the tale of a dog that somehow brings this comedy of humiliation, silence, and incarceration to a happy conclusion. Filled with strange, arresting décor and musical interludes, Lights in the Dusk offers “a deceptively satisfying, almost magical achievement, like being stranded in a desert yet never going thirsty” (Wesley Morris, The Boston Globe).
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