(Bluebell DVD retail) ***
Written by and starring Finnish auteur Aki Kaurismaki and directed by his brother Mika, The Liar is an early 1980s monochrome mood piece with the nouvelle vague echoing in the distance. One critic proposed that this was the Finnish reflection of the European New Wave with a 20-year time lag. There are references to Bande à part and homages to A bout de soufflé, but there is also plenty that anticipates Aki’s work to come. The opening line ‘Is life a disappointment?’ The frequent use of fixed frames, and the deadpan approach to getting inebriated are all indicative of brother Aki’s work.
Aki plays the liar of the title, a man who is unemployable, feckless, and emotionally impetuous and, sin of all sins, pretentious to boot and yet still manages somehow to pick up a beautiful girl whom he then treats with bohemian indifference. Extras include the slickly made short Jackpot 2 and an interview with Mika.