Calamari Union

Calamari Union is a 1985 Finnish surreal[1] comedy film, the second full-length film by the director Aki Kaurismäki. The film’s cast includes well-known Finnish actors and rock musicians.

Calamari Union
Film poster
Directed byAki Kaurismäki
Produced byAki Kaurismäki
Written byAki Kaurismäki
Music by
  • Aki Kaurismäki
  • Mikko Mattila
  • Jone Takamäki
  • Casablanca Vox
CinematographyTimo Salminen
Edited by
  • Aki Kaurismäki
  • Raija Talvio
Villealfa Filmproductions
Distributed byFinnkino
Release date
  • 8 February 1985 (1985-02-08)
Running time
81 minutes


Fifteen desperate men named Frank, band together to escape from a repressive section of Helsinki, Kallio. An English-speaking non-Frank named Pekka joins the barroom conspirators, whose avoidance of last names, and any affect, help them outsmart overwhelming forces as they sneak through dark subway tunnels and alleys, hoping against despair to reach magical seaside district of Eira. The Calamari Unionists take advantage of unending night to venture their intrepid journey.



An absurdist comedy,[2] the film is considered to be a satirical cult classic.[3] Caryn James of The New York Times described the film as "gleefully absurdist", adding that Kaurismäki "takes over the American gangster film and flavors it with his improbable humor".[4] Others have drawn connections between The Saimaa Gesture and Calamari Union and the Finnish punk movement.[5]


  1. Kääpä, Pietari (January 2010). The National and Beyond: The Globalisation of Finnish Cinema in the Films of Aki and Mika Kaurismäki. Peter Lang. p. 76. ISBN 978-3-03911-966-0.
  2. Fotheringham, Richard; Jansohn, Christa; White, R. S. (2008). Shakespeare's World/world Shakespeares: The Selected Proceedings of the International Shakespeare Association World Congress Brisbane, 2006. Associated University Presse. p. 196. ISBN 978-0-87413-989-1.
  3. Thorsen, Isak; Andersson, Lars Gustaf (31 August 2012). Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Cinema. Scarecrow Press. p. 233. ISBN 978-0-8108-5524-3.
  4. James, Caryn (23 August 1990). "Calamari Union (1985) – From Tragedy to Absurdity With Finland's Prolific Upstart". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  5. The Cinema of Aki Kaurismaki: Contrarian Stories. Columbia University Press. 20 August 2013. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-231-85041-4.

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