This deadpan tragicomedy about a group of impoverished, outcast artists living the bohemian life in Paris is among the most beguiling films by Finnish master Aki Kaurismäki. Based on stories from Henri Murger's influential mid nineteenth-century book Scènes de la vie de bohème and gorgeously shot in black and white, La vie de bohème is a vibrantly scrappy rendition of a beloved tale.
well made but I found it a bit tedious. I enjoyed the 'making of' feature more than the actual film.
I liked Kaurismaki's Shadows in Paradise, Ariel and Match Factory Girl more than this one.
This particular take on La vie de Boheme (loosely taken from the 1848 episodic novel as were many other versions) grew on me as I watched it. Although both tragic and comic, it is played in a straight dead pan in modern black and white. Although the cars appear to be 1960s, the actual time could be almost any time in the last 170 years as far as most of the scenery goes. It is, after all, a timeless tale of nearly starving artists, muscians, and writers. They live in a poor section of Paris (Malakoff in this case) and bounce from broke to well heeled and back repeatedly without becoming manic or depressed. Somehow it feels more honest in its simplicity than more dramatic, "meaningful", even pompous versions. If you have ever even brushed up against La Boheme, you may feel a frisson of "this is how it was, is, and always will be."
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