Drifting Clouds (1996) - full transcript

Tram driver Lauri loses his job. Shortly later, the restaurant where his wife Ilona works as a head waitress is closed. Too proud to receive money from the social welfare system, they strive to find new jobs. But they are completely unlucky and clumsy, one disaster is followed by the next.

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SPUTNIK OY presents

A film by Aki Kaurisméki

DRIFTING CLOUDS

Written, directed, edited & produced by
AKI KAURISMAKI

Would you like to have an aperitif?
- No, thank you.

Head waiter...

Can you come, the cook's had it again.

Amir, go to the door.

Back to work... all of you.

It needs stitches, or it won't heal
properly, and the hand can mortify.

I'll go after closing time.
- You'll go right now.



What if there'll be a riot?
Amir's pretty thin.

Get going.
- Okay, boss.

How do you like it?

Easy, right? Before you had to get up
every time. Twelve channels in all.

It's got colours, too.

Are you haPPY?

O" Part payment. right?

What else? The first installment
is only in the spring.

We haven't paid for the bookshelf yet.
Or the couch.

We'll manage it, four years...

Then we can buy some books, too.

It's fine all right.

Shall we go to bed?

Okay.



I'm going.
- Good.

Shall I take the garbage?
- Do.

The most violent storm of the decade
is shaking the Philippines.

250,000 have left their homes.

More than 80 are dead or missing.

The Nigerian civil rights defenders
have been executed.

Novelist Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other
representatives of the Ogon minority-

met their death by hanging.
The Nigerian military junta -

did not allow the accused
to defend themselves in court.

What is it now?
- There'll be notices.

All right, everybody's here.

The company is being reformed.
Routes will be cut down.

Four men will have to go.

I'm not choosing them,
we'll let the cards decide.

Please.

Three stitches.
- How much?

The doctor a hundred, taxi fifty.

Thank you.

Come along, Lajunen,
the manager wants to see you.

I understand. I'll have to leave?

Not yet... Final warning.

I want my money back.
- What for?

Unbearable rubbish! Get me my dough!
- You didn't even pay.

So what. Cheating people. Goodbye!
- What about the dog?

Give it to me.

I'll call tomorrow.

I thought it was good.
- Rubbish.

Supposed to be a comedy.
I didn't laugh once.

It's still not the cashier's fault.
- At least I took out my bitterness.

She is your sister though.

All the worse for her.

Let's go some place.

What's with you today?

First night off for a long time.

It's not fair.

It's not a night off.

I got fired a month ago.
Today was the last day.

And you haven't told me.

Bad news can wait.

But what for?

Most routes don't pay. Half the people
drive by car, others take the subway.

The rest can't even afford to walk.

We let the cards decide.
I lost.

And now what?
- I don't know.

You must apply for unemployment money.

I don't beg, I am me.

I'll get a new job, I've got contacts.

Poor Lauri.

I don't need pity.

The trees still grow.

Waiter, one more.

Good luck.

A professional doesn't need luck. I'll
check the options and pick the best.

The times are not so good.
Lucky you're still young.

Not even fifty, my sweetheart.

I'm going now.
- What?

I must go.
- Have a nice day.

Thank you. There's food in the kitchen.
- Yes.

Excuse me, but we are not open yet.

Doesn't matter. Get the manager.

She is not here. If you wish to call...

She should be.
We have an appointment.

Director...

There are some men asking for you.

I know. Ask them to come in.

When the bank changed owners all loans
were set for collection at once.

I told them I couldn't make it.

For weeks I tried to meet the new
director, but he wouldn't see me.

Supposedly he was always
traveling, having lunch or in meetings.

Then the Chain got in touch with me
and offered to buy the "Dubrovnik" -

at exactly the sum of the loans
with interest.

A coincidence, no doubt.

No doubt.

Especially as the new bank manager is
sitting in the board of the Chain.

My brother, a lawyer, advised me
to sell, as in an executive auction -

I wouldn't get even that.

Thirty-eight years since we opened.
I should have modernized.

The customers are getting old,
can't drink that much any more.

It was different
when my husband was alive.

Call the staff together for tomorrow,
I'll speak to them myself.

You smoke too much.
- That's right.

Worried?
- Couldn't sleep.

With your coat on?
- Yes.

That's strange.
- Isn't it.

Shall I make some tea?
- Coffee.

Then you can't sleep at night.
- It's morning soon.

Your wages of notice will be paid
into your accounts within a week -

and your references will be mailed
to you as soon as I've written them.

Is this the end?
Aren't we opening today'?

Today once more and then never again.

Tomorrow I'll not be the owner
of this place any more.

What about the new owners?
- What about them?

Don't they need anybody?

The Chain will bring their own staff.
I don't know what they plan to do.

It's not my concern. I am sorry.

I wish you all the best.
Thank you for these years.

On wings of hot wind love flies -

then follows coldness and emptiness

Hot winds escape and take my love

Where will the way of hot wind lead?

Autumn drove away the hot winds -

but summer will bring them back to me

Hot winds, bring back my love

So long I've been alone, waiting

Autumn drove away the hot winds -

but summer will bring them back to me

Hot winds, bring back my love

So long I've been alone, waiting

At home I gained the love -

of my caring parents

The childhood never returns

Time took it beyond the stars

It's the law of life -

only memories never die

Winds of fate took my love -

and she'll never return

Once the winds will blow on me -

you'll not see me any more

Youth is gone, I can't be bitter

I was happy -

surrounded by a company of friends

Our faded dreams -

bring tears in my eyes

Winds of fate took it all

Our dreams never came true

Once the winds will blow on me -

you'll not see me any more

Thank you for everything, llona.

And goodbye.

Till we meet again, director.

I guess you've lost track a little
in the past few years.

Forty percent of restaurant employees
are unemployed.

Nobody can afford to dine out,
excluding hot dog kiosks -

and they're not doing well, either.

I started as dishwasher, then
kitchen maid, then waiter -

until I got to be a head waiter.

I could still be a waiter, anything.

I understand, but I can't help you,
I've got a full staff here and -

to be honest, you're too old
for a waiter.

I'm thirty-eight.

That's it.
You can drop dead anytime.

You're over fifty yourself.

That's different. I've got contacts.

And you smoke, too.
Have you any life insurance?

You want to wrestle arms?
- No.

Go to the Employment Agency.
I'll check, but chances are poor.

The "Dubrovnik" is no reference.

It was the best restaurant in town.

After the war, yes.

Employment Service Agency

Nothing. Get going.
Opposite the door.

I would like to register.
- Yes?

What yes?
- Register in what sense?

Seeking employment.
- Are you receiving compensation?

No.
- Would you like to apply?

Not if I can get a job right away.
- What are you looking for?

I'm a head waiter.

Take a number, fill out this form
and wait for your turn.

You two go home,
I've got things to do.

Things?
Going for a drink again?

Maybe I am. If I feel like it.

Dinner's at five.

See you.

We'll eat the soup later.
I bought some cutlets.

Where's the wind blowing now from?

You've been drinking after all.
- On the contrary, just one.

I've got a job.

Sit down over here, my girl,
and I'll tell you about it.

I got a job as a bus driver.
Charter tours to St. Petersburg.

So far away.
- The better the pay.

Aren't you happy?
- Of course. When do you start?

Tomorrow. A formal medical check-up
in the morning and then on the road.

Does a working man get any food here
or do I have to go out for dinner?

You sit right there. It's coming up.

I made some lunch for you.
It's so far.

I don't need it. We'll eat on the way
with the tourists.

You'll take it anyway.

I didn't make the medical.

One ear is almost deaf.

They took my professional license.

I can drive only a toy car from now on.

Are you hurt?

No.

Four sausages.
- Thank you.

Ten marks.

Ilona!

Melartin!

Evening, head waiter.
Come and have a drink.

Maybe not, this time.

I owe to the bartender.

I accidentally drank
more than I could afford.

Could you?

They don't need porters any more.

Not even doormen.
Manners have degenerated.

People can come and go
like in a railway station.

Minors pissed,
pants nothing but holes...

Throwing up on each other
if they don't miss.

I should be going.
- Why?

Waking up early?

No.

Only my creditors miss me.

Let's drink some more.

Let's take the whole bottle,
it's cheaper.

Why not, it's been a long time.

Life is short and miserable.
Be merry while you can.

Waiter! Bring the bottle.

My friend and superior here pays.

Without those you'll get no dough.
- No I won't, and I don't want to.

Who'll pay the rent, and the bills?
- I will.

With what?
- I'll sell the car.

You won't get anything for it.
- It's a fine car. A Buick.

We cannot be reached today. If you're
replying to our announcements -

call this number again tomorrow,
on Thursday, or report in person -

to our office between nine
and sixteen hundred hours.

Employment Service "Nelia I repeat.

Employment Service "Nelia"

Sit down.

Koponen, llona.

How can I help you?
- I hear you need restaurant staff.

I don't, my clients do. I'm just
the agent. What can you do?

I'm a head waiter. My references.
- Let them be. I believe you.

Well, actually head waiter jobs went
already early in the morning, but if, -

if you're interested in dishwashing...
It's a restaurant job.

I'm interested in anything.

It's five hundred then.
- What?

Name and address of the employer.

Do I have to pay for it?
- Of course.

I'm no Samaritan. Employers get people
without my services -

they don't pay me. So you will.

If you want the job, that is.

What if I don't get the job?
- You'll get it, -

the price includes that.

It's confidential until tomorrow.

Take it or leave it.

I don't have that much with me,
but I can get it.

You'll have half an hour.

Next.

I'll withdraw all of it.

Hello.
You need a dishwasher.

They sent me from Nelia.

Dishwasher?
They've messed up again.

I need an all-round kitchen appliance.

I've no time to hang around here.

My woman managed this,
but she split-

and it was about the time.

Whose car?
- My husband's.

L see.

Can you cook?
- I've passed the Restaurant Institute.

What are you doing here then?

I've been unemployed.

You were drinking and got sacked?

Professional disease.

I don't care, the job is yours.

It's forty an hour. Starting tomorrow.
There's food in the freezer for a week.

Nobody's eating here anyway.

All right. When do we open?

Come here at eight,
look around and clean up.

Open at nine. If I'm not here by then,
the beer comes out from the tap.

What's this?
- My tax book.

Yes, of course.

Here's the kitchen.

It's not a grand place.

It doesn't matter.

It's more like a beer house.

You mean a pub?

No, a snack bar
where they serve beer.

How's the cook?

I'm the cook.

I thought you were in the dining room.

There, too.

Except it's no dining room.

Lauri...
- Yes?

It's a lousy hole.

It doesn't even have a name.

It's all right.

I could rise the standard, though.

I've got some ideas.

Steak Hawaii.
- Will be served at the table.

Sausage pan.

Steak Hawaii and Sausage pan!

Small beer.

L-ajunen!

Don't you know me?

After the "Dubrovnik" I thought I'd
have a vacation, with the final pay.

And then find a new job.

Didn't get to the finding,
didn't even try.

Shall I make you something to eat?

Couldn't keep it in anyway.
Don't bother.

Makes the blood thinner.

True.
What are you going to do now?

Who? Me?

YES.

Nothing. With these hands you can't
make even milkshake.

What's the rush?

I'm on a journey to the end of vodka.
See you, let's have lunch some time.

The beer load's coming in the morning.
Should have some cash.

Hell, I didn't hire you
as a bookkeeper!

You know nothing,
above all not where I live.

Shut your mouth or I'll kill you.

Tax department. Audit.

Do you work here?
- Yes.

Name, social security number.

Koponen, llona. 190158-082C.

What's up?

Sit down, please.

For how long have you worked here?

Six weeks. Or a bit more.

And you're not paying tax?
- Of course I am. I gave my tax book...

Three fifty.

Since nothing hinting at bookkeeping
can be found, there is no way -

for us to know how long
you have been working here.

I came to see Forsstrém.

Which one of you is Forsstrbm?

Who wants to know?

I came to collect my wife's pay.
She's quitting.

She's quitting?
Have to close the joint anyway.

How much do I owe her?

I'll send the money.
Now get going.

I'll take it now.

Get going. Informer.

Let's throw him into the sea.
Get it over with at once.

Right. That'd be fun.

Where are you?

Here somewhere, in the harbour.
- Come home right away.

I can't.
- Why not, what's with you?

Wait there. I'll come in a week.

I'm not waiting.
- I'm travelling. I got a job offer.

Come in.

You're distantly beginning to
look human. Need something?

A razor and a tooth brush.

Have the bill ready.
I'm leaving tomorrow.

No rush with the payment.

I'll have money soon. I'll go to
give up my life insurance.

Is there any duct-tape in the house?

Where have you been, hooligan!

Where's llona?
- How do I know. Try to find her.

You know all right.

At my place. Go, I'll call her
and say you're coming.

She won't forgive you.

Lauri's shoe's gone.

He can't get out,
which is good.

My colleague will fix it in a minute.

Ilona, listen to me now.

We can't go on like this.

You with no job, and soon they find out
all I know about shoes is the number.

We have to get back to restaurant
business. I know the place.

And what might that be?
- The one you set up.

Me?
- You. I'll work for you. At the door.

There's too many of them already.
- Not good ones.

With what money? It costs.

Get a loan from the bank.
That's what they are for.

All right.
- All right what?

We'll set it up. A proper restaurant.

That's great. Shake this hand.

It's possible.

Good.
- But we need money.

That's clear.

143,000 to be exact -

if the rent is 43 marks sq.m.
for 130 sq.m.

And the staff is eight.

The equipment and the furniture...
just a minute.

Part of the furniture we can get used,
I have to check, we can save there.

Shall I make some coffee?

YES.

How much?
- The times are poor.

So better invest in quality.
- A couple of holes in the base.

Yes, but the radio is working.

Humming.
- The antenna wire is loose.

Six thousand.
- Twelve.

Eight.

All right.

The plan seems sound, but you don't
have any capital of your own.

But I do have twenty percent of it.

On paper, but how about in practice?

Here's 8,000. Then my sister-in-law
sells her flat and moves in with us.

All right.
However, banks take no risks.

Do you have any shares or real-estate?

If I did, I wouldn't be here.
But I do have a backer.

He's employed and is prepared to stand
security for the whole sum of the loan.

Melartin.
- Rasmussen.

What's your line of business?

Shoemaker. In a quick shoe repairs.

How about another bank?

Not worth it.
Here I was a customer.

I've got half an hour,
let's go for a beer.

I don't think so. Thanks for trying.

I can't think of anything else.

But what if we fail, you lose?

We'll eat wallpaper,
people lived on it before.

All right then, but I'm coming along.

Wait here.

How did it go?

I lost. Everything.

We lost our home. They'll restore
the building and sell it.

I see.
What's “reminds of a needle"?

Heroin, morphine, haystack.

I'm going.

Not good. Four letters.

Camel, seam.

Seam's good.

Will you be long?

We'll see. I may be late.

Came down from the tree, nine letters.

Zachariah. Bye.

Bye.

Thank you.

Then I took the hairdresser course
in trade school.

After six months's work...

...you got married and got a child.

YES.

That's how it always goes.

The girl I had before went off
with some Belgian.

A week first, on probation.

Do some easy things.
On Monday then.

Mrs. Sjéholm, welcome,
it's been a long time.

The usual?
- The usual.

Ilona, hello. How are you?
Have you got time?

Hello director. Yes.

This is something we haven't tried yet.
Shall we order?

It would be the fourth.

We only live once.
- That's true.

I can take it, if that's what you fear.
When I was younger I had to drink -

many men under the table.

Wasn't even difficult.
They just pretend.

Can't help it. inferiority complex.

Waiter, "Honolulu Winter".
Two, please.

I'm glad we met like this.
- So am I.

When I lost the "Dubrovnik",
I thought that's it.

And I sat down to wait, made my will...

In a week I got bored. A healthy person
doesn't die by herself.

You're still young.
- That's what I think.

I started to go out again, even dancing.

I almost got married again.

But, thank God, I realised in time
that the man was no good.

Back to business.
I invest the capital.

In a few years you'll buy me out.
- Are you sure?

Yes. I need some action
or I'll get bored.

What if I fail?
You'll lose your money.

On the contrary.
I'll even make profit.

Shake hands?

Lajunen, Lajunen.

Don't take Lajunen.

You find a new cook.

Rehabilitation Centre for Alcoholics

There.

I see. Be careful now.

I thought that sweetbread -

Whitefish Willy, Chicken Albert and
Coeur de filet Provengal would be good.

Fine, but I also want to have
a simple lunch menu.

Good ordinary food, large portions, as
3 builders work in the neighbourhood.

Restaurant WORK

You've been busy.

To be ready in time.

I brought you these.
Maybe you need them.

That's all that remains of "Dubrovnik".

When will you open?

Monday next week.

Restaurant Work. Opening today.
Continental kitchen. Fully licensed.

What do they have? Porridge...

Salmon soup could be good.
- Yes. Or steak.

Shall we go in?
- No. It's too expensive.

That's the range.

For f"Yi"9-

Mrs. Sjéholm. Welcome.

Thank you.

It looks good, just like a restaurant.

Would you like to have a drink?

Maybe a glass of beer,
I'm so excited.

What if nobody comes?

It's past lunchtime soon.

What if...

Don't be nervous.

Maybe tomorrow.

Whitefish and two bottles of beer.
- Thank you.

I recommend the sweetbread.

Vodka, a bottle.
- Thank you.

Alright...

Yes?

It's the Helsinki Workers' Wrestlers,
reservation for tonight for thirty.

Tell them they can come.

You can come.

I didn't know what I'd found
when I asked you for a dance

They played a song with a beat,
you said: come closer

Everything hid away
when the moon got lost in the clouds -

and the park got dark
and there's always a reason why

The band takes a break
and I ask to walk you home

You just laugh in silence,
others turn to watch

The night's not over,
the record plays forever -

all I can do is wait

But the clouds are drifting far away,
you try to reach them in vain

The clouds are drifting far away,
and so am I...

DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF
Matti Pellonpéé

THE CHILD IN THE PHOTOGRAPH
Matti Pellonpéé

Translation: Erkki Astala
Subtitles: Janne Kauppila