Finland has selected Aki Kaurismäki’s Fallen Leaves as its official entry for best international feature at the 96th Academy Awards.
The comedy drama world premiered at Cannes where it topped Screen’s jury grid and picked up the festival’s jury prize.
It recently won the 2023 Grand Prix, voted on by members of the International Federation of Film Critics (Fipresci), and will screen at San Sebastian International Film Festival where it receives the award.
Fallen Leaves is produced by Sputnik Oy and Bufo and co-produced by Pandora Film. The Match Factory is handling international sales.
Alma Poysti and Jussi Vatanen star in the film as two lonely people who meet one night in Helsinki and try to fall in love.
Kaurismäki previously secured Finland’s only nomination in 2002 for The Man Without A Past though he refused to attend the ceremony in protest of the US involvement in the Iraqi war. The director was submitted another two times, in 2006 for Lights In The Dusk and in 1996 with Drifting Clouds, but both films were withdrawn by Kaurismäki for similar reasons. His 2011 film Le Havre was also submitted to the Oscars with the director saying he “rebuilt his boycott” after US troops withdrew from Iraq.
Finland has also been shortlisted twice – in 2015 for Klaus Härö’s The Fencer and in 2021 Juho Kuosmanen’s Compartment No. 6.