On the Heterogeneity of Cinematography in the Films of Aki Kaurismäki

in Projections
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Aki Kaurismäki's feature-length fictional films are often discussed as a stylistically homogenous group. Because critics have looked for similarities, they have neglected differences among the films. This article tests prevailing arguments about the cinematographic style of Kaurismäki's films in a quantitative analysis of shot lengths, camera movements, reverse angles, point of view shots, and shot scales. The analysis indicates significant similarities and changes among the films and differentiates between notable stylistic trends. The results of the study complicate existing claims about Kaurismäki's style. Mismatches between impression and fact are explained by analyzing the parts of Kaurismäki's style that “stand out” and the reasons why they do so.