Sweet-souled in story, scalpel-sharp in filmmaking precision, this enchanting love story from Finnish virtuoso Aki Kaurismäki circles around two financially strapped Helsinkians who keep finding and losing one another in a world that seems to be falling apart. Evoking such dark-comic romances from his early career such as SHADOWS IN PARADISE and ARIEL, the sardonic yet exquisitely melancholic FALLEN LEAVES devotes its wry, humane gaze to grocery clerk Ansa (Alma Pöysti) and construction laborer Holappa (Jussi Vatanen), who commence an on-again, off-again relationship of extreme tentativeness, while seeking employment and stability. Kaurismäki has scrupulously carved another fictive universe out of a handful of specific, vivid locations, in his sardonic, deadpan style that may be jarring for general audiences. But people in the know, especially ones who love the works of early Jim Jarmusch, will find everyday details of the mundane will register as grand, meaningful cinematic gestures. FALLEN LEAVES very much takes place in the world we’re living in, which makes its surrender to hope all the more affecting. Winner of the Jury Prize at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.