Varjoja Paratiisissa (Shadows in Paradise) (1986)

Varjoja Paratiisissa (Shadows in Paradise)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

In this romantic comedy, Nikander is a lonely garbage-truck driver who meets the homely check-out clerk Ilona. Their painful shyness makes for slow romantic progress, until Ilona loses her job, and the two rendezvous in a country motel. Nikander proposes after returning items Ilona stole in retaliation for being fired.

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Comedy
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 23, 2008
Criterion Collection

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Critic Reviews for Varjoja Paratiisissa (Shadows in Paradise)

All Critics (2) | Top Critics (1)

Full Review… | October 27, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Gives the stale conventions of the rom com the dark flipside they need, while downsizing that genre's normally bourgeois sensibilities into a class all its own.

Full Review… | October 22, 2007
Eye for Film

Audience Reviews for Varjoja Paratiisissa (Shadows in Paradise)

completely charming anti-romcom, it's hilariously sad and wonderful. this is my first aki kaurismaki film and i look forward to more! like many, i'm crushed to discover my new favorite actor died 17 years ago :(

Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer


Signature Kaurismaki! Beautiful composition and deadpan humor, this is not your typical rom com. If you have a penchant for stoicism and cigarettes, this film is an askew vision of Helsinki's outskirts. This debut bodes well for the remainder of the 'Proletariat Trilogy.'

Stefanie C

Super Reviewer


In "Shadows in Paradise," Nikander(Matti Pellonpaa), a garbageman who is learning English in his spare time, is approached by a co-worker(Esko Nikkari), to join the waste retrieval business he is planning on setting up. Despite having grave misgivings, Nikander agrees but soon after, his new business partner drops dead on the job. Distraught, Nikander goes on a bender and wakes up in the drunk tank, meeting Melartin(Sakari Kuosmanen) who gets a job with Nikander's help. Meanwhile, he also makes the acquaintance of Ilona(Kati Outinen) whose summary firing from her job at a supermarket causes her to steal cash from her former employer.

Nobody ever meets cute in an Aki Kaurismaki movie and "Shadows in Paradise" is no exception. As usual, he does not dwell on the more fantastic tropes of romance, instead settling for the more mundane which suits his characters well. These characters live and work in a reality where jobs can be a precarious thing and what ones there are can be hard and thankless work like garbagemen. So, it is important to not look down on people just because of their jobs since what they do is just as important as anybody else's.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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