The 64th Thessaloniki International Film Festival called it a wrap on Sunday, November 12th, at Olympion, with the screening of the film Fallen Leaves by Aki Kaurismäki, awarded with the Jury Prize at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival and Finland’s official submission on this year’s Academy Award for Best International Film.
The event was introduced by Elise Jalladeau, general director of the Festival and Orestis Andreadakis, artistic director of the Festival: "Good evening ladies and gentlemen, the 64th Thessaloniki International Film Festival is coming to an end. We warmly thank the Ministry of Culture, the Region of Central Macedonia, the Municipality of Thessaloniki, our sponsors, our partners, of course the employees of the Festival for their hard work, our volunteers and of course all the participants and juries. These eleven days and nights we tried to fill the theaters as well as your hearts with cinema, creative people and unforgettable images. Let's get a taste of what we shared together", they said, giving the floor to a short video with the highlights and most beautiful moments of this year's event.
After the video, the Festival award winners in the hall stood up and received warm applause from the audience. Then, Elise Jalladeau and Orestis Andreadakis introduced the closing film and set up another meeting with the audience for the March Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival: "And now cinema. The most beautiful cinema we could have for the closing ceremony. Fallen Leaves is a heart-wrenching story of love, hope, mutual respect and solidarity, a true offspring of the unique and unconventional universe of cinema’s grand humanist director. Aki Kaurismäki’s cinema, drenched with nocturnal urban landscapes and offbeat melodies, the trademark Scandinavian deadpan humor, delightful self-sarcasm and quirky heroes that awkwardly search for human touch and comfort, serves as the ideal painkiller for every moment where harsh reality seems invincible. Thank you all, see you in March at the 26th Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival. Enjoy the screening".
The screening of the film Fallen Leaves followed, a heart-wrenching story of love, hope, mutual respect and solidarity, a true offspring of the unique and unconventional universe of cinema’s grand humanist director and Greek audience’s favourite, Aki Kaurismäki. In the course of one night, in Helsinki, two lonely souls cross paths and discover the magic of togetherness, while seeking their first, absolute and one-and-only love of their life. Deeply romantic yet rooted to the harsh reality (the most unexpected melodies are often followed by the radio news on Ukraine), Fallen Leaves is like a soft blanket wrapped around your shoulders amidst the autumn chill, reminding you of the values of humanity and empathy and the greatness of simplicity. Aki Kaurismäki’s cinema, drenched with nocturnal urban landscapes and offbeat melodies, the trademark Scandinavian deadpan humor, delightful self-sarcasm, quirky heroes that awkwardly search for human touch and comfort, serves as the ideal farewell for November’s cinema celebration in Thessaloniki.