Calamari Union

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Calamari Union
Film poster
Directed by Aki Kaurismäki
Produced by Aki Kaurismäki
Written by Aki Kaurismäki
Starring Timo Eränkö
Kari Heiskanen
Asmo Hurula
Sakke Järvenpää
Music by Mikko Mattila
Jone Takamäki
Cinematography Harri Laakso
Mikko Mattila
Edited by Aki Kaurismäki
Raija Talvio
Aki Kaurismäki/Villealfa Film Productions
Release dates
  • 8 February 1985 (1985-02-08)
Running time 80 minutes
Country Finland
Language English

Calamari Union is a 1985 Finnish surreal[1] comedy film, the second full-length film by director Aki Kaurismäki. It stars Timo Eränkö, Kari Heiskanen, Asmo Hurula and Sakke Järvenpää.


Calamari Union is an allegorical movie that tells the story of sixteen men all of whom are called Frank (inspired by Frank Armoton) apart from a single confrere, Pekka. Collectively the Franks and Pekka are unhappy with the perceived oppression they face in their district of Helsinki, Kallio, and decide to move to another, Eira, imagining it to be an unspoiled place where people can live lives of dignity. The journey is an ironic one given that both districts are not so far apart. In this spirit, their journey across the city takes on epic proportions with each of the travellers gradually falling by the wayside due to such travails as marriage, work, and death. In its entirety the film is a wry discussion of humanity within a system that regards humans as subservient components.


An absurdist comedy,[2] the film is considered to be satirical cult classic.[3] Caryn James of The New York Times described the film as "gleefully absurdist", adding that Kaurismäki "takes over the American gangster film and flavors it with his improbable humor".[4] Other have drawn connections between the Saimaa Gesture and Calamari Union and the Finnish punk movement.[5]


  1. ^ Kääpä, Pietari (January 2010). The National and Beyond: The Globalisation of Finnish Cinema in the Films of Aki and Mika Kaurismäki. Peter Lang. p. 76. ISBN 978-3-03911-966-0. 
  2. ^ Fotheringham, Richard; Jansohn, Christa; White, R. S. (2008). Shakespeare's World/world Shakespeares: The Selected Proceedings of the International Shakespeare Association World Congress Brisbane, 2006. Associated University Presse. p. 196. ISBN 978-0-87413-989-1. 
  3. ^ Thorsen, Isak; Andersson, Lars Gustaf (31 August 2012). Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Cinema. Scarecrow Press. p. 233. ISBN 978-0-8108-5524-3. 
  4. ^ James, Caryn (August 23, 1990). "Calamari Union (1985) – From Tragedy to Absurdity With Finland's Prolific Upstart". The New York Times. Retrieved August 20, 2012. 
  5. ^ The Cinema of Aki Kaurismaki: Contrarian Stories. Columbia University Press. 20 August 2013. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-231-85041-4. 

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