The Man Without a Past

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The Man Without a Past
Man without a past.jpg
International poster
Directed by Aki Kaurismäki
Produced by Aki Kaurismäki
Written by Aki Kaurismäki
Starring Markku Peltola
Kati Outinen
Juhani Niemelä
Music by Leevi Madetoja
Cinematography Timo Salminen
Edited by Timo Linnasalo
Release dates
  • March 1, 2002 (2002-03-01)
Running time
97 minutes
Country Finland
Language Finnish
Budget €1,206,000[1]
Box office $9,564,237

The Man Without a Past (Finnish: Mies vailla menneisyyttä) is a 2002 Finnish comedy-drama film directed by Aki Kaurismäki and starring Markku Peltola, Kati Outinen and Juhani Niemelä. It is the second installment in Kaurismäki's Finland trilogy, the other two films being Drifting Clouds (1996) and Lights in the Dusk (2006). The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2002 and won the Grand Prix at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.[2]


The film begins with an unnamed man arriving by train to Helsinki. After falling asleep in Kaisaniemi Park, he is mugged and beaten by hoodlums and is severely injured in the head, losing consciousness. He awakes and wanders back to the train station and collapses in its bathroom. He awakes the second time in a hospital and finds that he has lost his memory. He starts his life from scratch, living in container dwellings, finding clothes with help from the Salvation Army and making friends with the poor.



The Man Without a Past was co-produced by the Finnish companies Sputnik and YLE, the German companies Bavaria Film Studios and Pandora Filmproduktion and the French company Pyramide Productions.

Critical reception[edit]

The film received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes rated it 98%,[3] while Metacritic rated it 84,[4] which, according to the website's criteria, classifies the film's reception as "universal acclaim". Roger Ebert awarded the film 3½ stars out of 4, saying he "felt a deep but indefinable contentment".[5] Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter said the film "contains not one false note. It is the work of an artist fully in control of his art."[6] Barbara Scharres of the Chicago Reader said that Kaurismäki "perfects his trademark formula of deadpan humor and arctic circle pathos in this brilliantly ironic 2002 comedy."[7]

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ "Production support for Finnish films 1998-2004" (PDF) (in Finnish). Finnish Film Foundation. 2004-03-06. p. 2. Retrieved 28 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Fauth, Jurgen. [1], Accessed February 5, 2008.
  3. ^ The Man Without a Past at Rotten Tomatoes. Accessed February 5, 2008.
  4. ^ The Man Without a Past at Metacritic. Accessed February 5, 2008.
  5. ^ Ebert, Roger. The Man Without a Past, Chicago Sun-Times, June 27, 2003. Accessed February 5, 2008.
  6. ^ Honeycutt, Kirk. The Man Without A Past (Finland), The Hollywood Reporter, January 1, 2005. Accessed February 5, 2008.
  7. ^ The Man Without a Past
  8. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Man Without a Past". Retrieved 2009-10-25. 

External links[edit]