The Port of Le Havre is managed by a state agency called Grand Port Maritime du Havre, created by Decree 2008-1037 on 9 October 2008 and replacing the former "Port Autonome du Havre" that had been created along with Bordeaux by the first bill on port autonomy in 1920, a status granted on January 1st 1925 and confirmed by the second bill on port autonomy in 1965.
The "Grand Port Maritime du Havre" is a public institution taking care of administrative public service tasks and missions of industrial and commercial public service. It is operated as a public institution of trade and industry and is responsible for the management of all port facilities in its district. It is run by a Management Board of four members. Its surveillance council is composed of State representatives, employees, territorial community (Upper Normandy, Seine Maritime, CODAH and Le Havre) and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Modern Le Havre remains deeply influenced by its employment and maritime traditions. Its port is the second largest in France, after that of Marseille, for total traffic, and the largest French container port. The name Le Havre means "the harbour" or "the port". Its inhabitants are known as Havrais or Havraises.
Le Havre is the most populous commune of Upper Normandy, although the total population of the greater Le Havre conurbation is smaller than that of Rouen. It is also the second largest subprefecture in France (after Reims).
The film premiered in competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, where it received the FIPRESCI Prize. Kaurismäki envisions it as the first installment in a trilogy about life in port cities. His ambition is to make follow-ups set in Spain and Germany, shot in the local languages.
Marcel Marx, a former bohemian and struggling author, has given up his literary ambitions and relocated to the port city Le Havre. He leads a simple life based around his wife Arletty, his favourite bar and his not too profitable profession as a shoeshiner. As Arletty suddenly becomes seriously ill, Marcel's path crosses with an underage illegal immigrant from Africa. Marcel and friendly neighbors and other townspeople help to hide him from the police. The police inspector may, or may not, be hot on their heels.