Friday, November 30, 2018

Nature Boys

Before you ask, yes, there is indeed a moment in the reeds in A Moment in the Reeds. There are actually a few moments in those self same reeds, actually - it's one of the spots where Leevi (Janne Puustinen) and Tareq (Boodi Kabbani) get to know each other, before they, ahem, you know, get to know each other. A Moment in the Reeds, a meet-cute in miniature, is all about the boys getting to know each other - those prime moments where relationships begin, where you ask some shy questions to start and the words just keep coming, and coming, sudden without the slightest of effort.

After escaping to France for school (but mostly for peace of mind) Leevi has returned home to Finland for the summer to deal with his widowed father Jouko (Mika Melender), who definitely must be dealt with. Jouko knows his son dallies with fellas but hasn't at all come to terms with it, and he is nursing a lot of anger over his son's abandonment on top of that. So Leevi comes home to help his father fix up their summer house and pound down the rough patches - enter stage right the sexy Syrian handyman, a sack full of complications hanging under his tool-belt.

Thankfully for us audience members here spending these moments with Leevi & Tareq among the reeds the two actors have chemistry to burn and then some, and their early scenes smolder - just low chats outside in the dark, drinking beer, bring waves of when-will-they tensions. And when they do, because of course they do, the actors capture that fuck-it-all headspace slow-motion explosion - cheeks flushed, hands fumbling, passing breath between each other as a means of still living when your blood's rushed somewhere else. 

That is to say A Moment in the Reeds gets very very hot, and burns bright upon it. There's not much to it beyond that - it stays simple, observing these scenes, and the stuff with dad doesn't entirely cohere into anything save outside menace and interruption (although there's one sequence where the boys try to get their fondle on under his nose without suspicion that's fairly steamy for his obliviousness). But then these moments, among the reeds or rollercoasters or suburban Regal Theater parking lots, these knife-like little glints of scrape-the-bone connection are the wounds that we'll remember, run our fingers along, forever. Observing them are enough.

A Moment in the Reeds is hitting all of the streaming
platforms as well as blu-ray and DVD on Tuesday!


Gus said...

Saw this quiet little gem last week and I agree, it burns slowly and quietly but blisteringly.  Where I disagree is that I think it does cohere in the end . The final scenes, without overplaying anything, make plain how much the pain and grief that we don't transform is what we transmit - to our own diminishment and, usually, the pain and anguish of those nearest and dearest. It was the final exchange between son and father that pulled the whole thing together.

On a slightly different but somewhat related tack, if you haven't caught up with a small but rather devastating French film , 'Sauvage' directed by Camille Vidal-Naquet check it out.  It's a long time since I've been so deeply caught up in a film days after seeing it and the central performance is astonishing.

Jason Adams said...

To be honest I usually have a stick up my ass (and not in a good way!) towards stories about fathers and sons because of my own issues with my own father - I don't have a lot of patience for them these days. Same thing happened with Creed. So it's probably my own deal.