A man with a travel bag arrives in a city. He gets off the train, but before he reaches his destination, he is attacked, beaten unconscious and robbed. The man vacillates between life and death but, thanks to the care of two tramps, recovers after a time - but has lost his memory. He doesn't know his own name, where he came from, nor who he. After being turned away from the labour office for having no name or documents, he starts helping out at the Salvation Army office. He gets to know rather plain, mature Salvation Army officer Irma, and also discovers the army's band which, under his guidance, whips up a new repertoire from scratch and attracts a new following. After the police publish a photograph of the unknown man, the stranger's past makes itself known.
"Pairing the dramatic trajectory of vintage melodrama with the Finnish director's customarily de-emphasized, amusingly deadpan style, this may be a small film in commercial terms, but it's an enormously satisfying, superbly crafted one that should extend Kaurismaki's devoted following."
David Rooney, Variety
Peter von Bagh
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