Aki Kaurismäki

La vie de bohème

La vie de bohème

This deadpan tragicomedy about a group of impoverished, outcast artists living the bohemian life in Paris is among the most beguiling films by Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki. Based on stories from Henri Murger’s influential mid-nineteenth-century book Scènes de la vie de bohème (the basis for the opera La bohème), the film features a marvelous trio of Kaurismäki regulars—André Wilms, Matti Pellonpää, and Karl Väänänen—as a writer, painter, and composer who scrape by together, sharing in life’s daily absurdities. Gorgeously shot in black and white, La vie de bohème is a vibrantly scrappy rendition of a beloved tale.

Film Info

  • Aki Kaurismäki
  • Finland, France
  • 1992
  • 103 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.85:1
  • French
  • Spine #693

Special Features

DIRECTOR-APPROVED EDITION:

  • New, restored high-definition digital film transfer, supervised by director Aki Kaurismäki, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Where Is Musette?, an hour-long documentary on the making of the film
  • New interview with actor André Wilms
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Luc Sante
    New cover by Eric Skillman

Purchase Options

Special Features

DIRECTOR-APPROVED EDITION:

  • New, restored high-definition digital film transfer, supervised by director Aki Kaurismäki, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Where Is Musette?, an hour-long documentary on the making of the film
  • New interview with actor André Wilms
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Luc Sante
    New cover by Eric Skillman
La vie de bohème
Cast
Matti Pellonpää
Rodolfo
Evelyne Didi
Mimi
André Wilms
Marcel
Karl Väänänen
Schaunard
Christine Murillo
Musette
Jean-Pierre Léaud
Blancheron
Laika
Baudelaire
Credits
Director
Aki Kaurismäki
Written and produced by
Aki Kaurismäki
Based on the novel Scènes de la vie de bohème by
Henri Murger
Director of photography
Timo Salminen
Sound
Jouko Lumme
Production designer
John Ebden
Costumes
Simon Murray
Edited by
Veikko Aaltonen

From The Current

André Wilms on La vie de bohème
André Wilms on La vie de bohème

Among the delights of Aki Kaurismäki’s La vie de bohème are the guest appearances by François Truffaut alter ego Jean-Pierre Léaud and the two-fisted American auteur Samuel Fuller. The former plays an eccentric collector who takes an interest i…

/
La vie de bohème: The Seacoast of Bohemia
La vie de bohème: The Seacoast of Bohemia

Aki Kaurismäki pays wry tribute to the starving artist in his sad and funny update of Henri Murger’s classic book.

By Luc Sante

/
Adapting La vie de bohème
Adapting La vie de bohème

Aki Kaurismäki first read Henri Murger’s Scènes de la vie de bohème in 1976. The highly influential 1851 book—an episodic novel about a group of starving artists that also inspired Puccini’s 1896 opera La bohème—captured the Finnish filmm…

/

Explore

Aki Kaurismäki

Writer, Producer, Director

Even if he weren’t the world’s most famous Finnish filmmaker, Aki Kaurismäki’s singular place in cinema would be ensured by his distinctive and effortless mix of scalpel-sharp comedy, pitch-dark (The Match Factory Girl) or slapstick (Leningrad Cowboys Go America), with warm humanism. He started working in movies as his older brother Mika’s codirector, then struck out on his own with an adaptation of Crime and Punishment (1983). With his Proletariat Trilogy—Shadows in Paradise (1986), Ariel (1988), and The Match Factory Girl (1990), which find humor or romance in even the most desperate situations—and his zany musical comedies starring the fictional band the Leningrad Cowboys, Kaurismäki became a beloved figure in international film circles. The sardonic inventiveness of the former and the unexpected hipster hilarity of the latter confirmed him as an uncommon master, and his influence has been felt in works by the likes of Jim Jarmusch and Wes Anderson. Kaurismäki has continued to delight audiences with such films as the Oscar-nominated The Man Without a Past (2003) and Le Havre (2011), which evince his social commitment as well as his fluency in visual storytelling.


Read Kaurismäki’s Top 10.