Ludic Engagements: The Films of Aki Kaurismäki – A Symposium

On Wednesday, May 17th, 2017, the 10th Annual Contemporary Directors Symposium will take place at the School of Media, Film and Music, University of Sussex. This year’s event will be devoted to a consideration of the work of Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki.

Despite creating an extensive and innovative body of work over the last 30 years, Kaurismäki remains relatively neglected in Anglophone scholarship. This  symposium and a collection of original essays connected to it (to be published by Bloomsbury in 2018) aim to redress such neglect by offering a range of critical inquiries into Kaurismäki’s politically and aesthetically compelling cinema.

The schedule for the event is given below. Recordings of all the papers from last year’s symposium – on the work of Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu, director of Amores perros (2000), 21 Grams (2002), Babel (2006), Biutiful (2010), Birdman (2014) and The Revenant (2015) – are published at the REFRAME website Mediático here.

Event: Ludic Engagements: The Films of Aki Kaurismäki
Sussex Humanities Lab, Silverstone Building, University of Sussex
Wednesday 17 May 2017, 1:00-6:15



1:10 – 1:30
Screening, Dogs Have No Hell

1:30 – 2.45
Pietari Kääpä (University of Warwick) “Three ecologies of Kaurismäki”
Jaakko Seppälä (University of Helsinki) “The Camera’s ironic point of view: notes on strange and comic elements in the films of Aki Kaurismäki”

2:45 – 3:00

3:00 – 4:15
Thomas Austin (University of Sussex) “Temporality in Kaurismäki: anachronism, allusion, tableau”
Angelos Koutsourakis (University of Leeds) “The cultural techniques of gesture and working-class corporeality in Aki Kaurismäki’s proletarian trilogy”

4:15 – 4:35
Refreshment break

4:35 – 5:50
Henry Bacon (University of Helsinki) “Levels of typification in Aki Kaurismäki’s Drifting Clouds
Michael Lawrence (University of Sussex) “Deadpan dogs: Kaurismäki’s canine comedies”

5:50 – 6:15     round table discussion

Free to Sussex students and staff. Otherwise £10 on the door. To reserve a place please email:

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