A Moment in the Reeds
Screen Shot 2018-08-01 at 17.22.40
★★★★

Review by PATP Admin

Synopsis: After finishing University for the summer, Leevi returns home to Finland to help his father renovate their lake house. An extra pair of hands is needed for the job, so a Syrian seeking asylum, Tariq, is hired. When Leevi’s father heads back to the city, the two young men form a close friendship that offers the hope of a summer of love.

This film has been publicised in the UK as a kind of Finnish counterpart to God’s Own Country, but it is really quite something else. The parallels are there – a “native son” struggling with his family duties when a newcomer arrives in the shape of a handsome migrant – but the way the stories are told and the nuance of character are really quite different.

In God’s Own Country Johnny is brutalised and near defeated, struggling with the family farm, turning his self-hatred and shame on everyone and everything around him, until the kind and calming influence of Gheorghe enters his life and starts to bring a sliver of hope. The film explores the political moment in the UK in the wake of the Brexit vote, with Johnny standing for the “left behind” locals and Gheorghe the changes and globalisation so feared by many, although it is much more than a clumsy allegory and the romantic element is supreme and supremely moving.

A Moment… is just that, an examination of paths crossing between two seemingly very different men who in reality have very much in common in that they have both felt stultified by their families and had to leave their homelands to escape and live as they really are. Tariq’a harsh journey from war-battered Syria across a hate-filled, disorienting Europe contrasts with Leevi’s privileged experience of studying in Paris and his uneasy but relatively open relationship with his grudging father, but they soon find the common ground.

Mikko Makela counts films Weekend and Before Sunrise as two influences on this film, and its a worthy addition to the cannon of works focussed on the moment, the tenderness of discovery when two people are thrown together and a rare connetion

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