Becoming-minor in a sustainable Europe: the contemporary European art film and Aki Kaurismäki's Le Havre

In today's Europe, the cosmopolitanism and openness to the world the that are at the basis of the project of art cinema are linked to profound anxieties, as a result of the marginalization of the old continent on the global stage, and of an economic recession that generates grave doubts about the sustainability of the post-1989 supranational project. The concomitant loss of identity and centrality of European art film, once a major cinematic form, calls for a new modality of reading, which, I argue, is well served by a modified conception of the minor. Aki Kaurismäki's Le Havre (2011) is explicitly reflective about what I term becoming-minor and becoming-sustainable in relation to European art cinema. Deploying Deleuze and Guattari's theory of minor literature and Deleuze's concept of minor cinema, while also evaluating the film's situatedness and its critique of the sustainability of contemporary Europe, this essay explores the connections between Kaurismäki's representation of a highly symbolic city-port and its deterritorializing/reterritorializing work on filmic language as the two key components of Le Havre's geopolitical aesthetic – and as a tool for eliciting a reading strategy that may be productively employed to rethink the European art film of today.

Author Name: 
Rascaroli, Laura
Journal: 
Screen
Citation: 
Laura Rascaroli, Becoming-minor in a sustainable Europe: the contemporary European art film and Aki Kaurismäki's Le Havre, Screen, 54: 3 (2013), pp. 323-340.