Three Wise Men Mika Kaurismäki

Ever wondered what would happen if you put three Finnish guys in a karaoke bar on Christmas Eve? Well, look no further, because Mika Kaurismäki’s Three Wise Men is just that. But don’t be fooled by the droll exterior — this film is serious stuff.

Three Wise Men is the story of a trio of middle-aged men who all come together by chance on Christmas Eve. They’re old friends but haven’t seen one another for years. Matti the cop has just become a father, although his wife admits the child is not his. The baby girl’s father is actually Erkki, a ladies man and photographer dying of incurable cancer. What’s more, film actor Rauno has just returned from Paris to find his ex-wife has just died and his estranged son has turned against him.

The entire film was shot over a week and the three main actors had a lot to do with writing the script, which explains the extremely well developed characters and earnest approach to each of their personal crises. As the night goes on and more booze is downed, the conversation amongst the three men transforms from awkward moments of reserve to naked honesty, impromptu confessions and at times, open aggression.

Thus, Three Wise Men reminds us that we all carry our secrets and vulnerabilities with us. And because of its ability to connect so directly with its audience, the film is incredibly cathartic. As we witness each character strip himself of all of his emotional barriers, it is inevitable the viewer feel an enormous sense of satisfaction and relief after all the tension built up beforehand.

Full of subtle humour, occasional moments of hilarity and more than a few lessons, Three Wise Men is a must-see. (Marianna)