With idiosyncratic, influential, and award-winning films such as Ariel, Leningrad Cowboys Go America, The Match-Factory Girl, Drifting Clouds and Man Without a Past, Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki's cinema has enjoyed critical success and international popularity. Showing the richness of alternatives to contemporary Hollywood, Kaurismäki's terse cinematic language is embedded in film history and Finnish culture, while also concerned with social change in times of globalization. His films are provocative, humorous, and intellectually rewarding. This special issue of the Journal of Finnish Studies is devoted to exploring the aesthetics of Aki Kaurismäki's cinema, and to putting his films into cinematic, national and cultural-political context. It includes essays by Satu Kyösola, Pietari Kääpä, Andrew Nestingen, Sakari Toiviainen and Jochen Werner.