Aki Kaurismäki

The Match Factory Girl

The Match Factory Girl

Kaurismäki took his penchant for despairing character studies to unspeakably grim depths in the shockingly entertaining The Match Factory Girl. Kati Outinen is memorably impenetrable as Iris, whose grinding days as a cog in a factory wheel, and nights as a neglected daughter living with her parents, ultimately send her over the edge. Yet despite her transgressions, Kaurismäki makes Iris a compelling, even sympathetic figure. Bleak yet suffused with comic irony, The Match Factory Girl closes out the “Proletariat Trilogy” with a bang—and a whimper.

Film Info

  • Finland
  • 1990
  • 69 minutes
  • Color
  • 1.85:1
  • Finnish

Available In

Collector's Set

Eclipse Series 12: Aki Kaurismäki’s Proletariat Trilogy

Aki Kaurismäki’s Proletariat Trilogy

DVD Box Set

3 Discs


The Match Factory Girl
Kati Outinen
Elina Salo
Esko Nikkari
Vesa Vierikko
Reijo Taipale
Silu Seppälä
Aki Kaurismäki
Aki Kaurismäki
Faragó Katinka
Klas Olofsson
Aki Kaurismäki
Timo Salminen
Art direction
Risto Karhula
Aki Kaurismäki
Jouko Lumme



Aki Kaurismäki

Writer, Producer, Director

Aki Kaurismäki

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.