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Directed by Aki Kaurismäki

Finland 1987 86 mins. In Finnish

Deadpan humor abounds in this tongue-in-cheek noir adaptation of Shakespeare’s immortal Hamlet. When Hamlet (the delightfully named Pirkka-Pekka Petelius, munching incongruously on a slice of ham) happens upon his father’s deceased body, he soon finds himself unwillingly pulled into a brutal power struggle as his scheming uncle attempts to secure a monopoly on the Scandinavian rubber duck industry. Will Hamlet avenge his father’s death? Will he become the reigning king of rubber ducks? Does any of it really matter? Capitalizing on Hamlet’s ubiquity and the revered status it holds within the cultural lexicon, Kaurismäki takes every opportunity to revel in the absurdity of his characters’ feeble machinations—resulting in a film that, despite its best efforts, is strangely true to the spirit of its source material. “Kaurismäki keeps this wacky idea afloat with farcical plotting, deadpan humour and cryptic dialogue. The overall tone is pure B-movie, the exaggerated emotions and Timo Salminen’s glistening noir photography recalling Warners’ crime melodramas of the ’40s.”—Time Out London. In Finnish with English subtitles.

Films in this Program

Hamlet Act

Directed by Robert Nelson

Experimental filmmaker Robert Nelson brings his characteristic wit to this restaging of the famous “play rehearsal” scene from Hamlet, breaking



The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.