A Moment in the Reeds

Director: Mikko Makela
2017 | Finland, UK | 108m
GENRE: Drama | Gay | Immigration/Exile | Romance | Sexuality
SECTION: World Cinema
Expected Guests: Director, Mikko Makela, Producer, James Watson


Leevi (Janne Puustinen) is a handsome blond Finn who is studying literature in Paris and completing his comparative thesis on gender performativity in the works of Rimbaud and Sarkia. Glad to be away from his conservative father and unhappy childhood, he compulsively pursues gay hook-up apps. Tareq (Boodi Kabbani) is a soft-spoken, gentle architect and refugee from Syria who is relieved to have escaped his gay-unfriendly family and intent on building a new life in Finland, where he can be himself despite difficult circumstances. When Leevi returns to Finland during a school break to help his father (Mika Melender) renovate the family lake house, Tareq is the immigrant handyman hired to do the work. With Leevi’s father called away on business, the two young men explore a relationship—a moment in the reeds that will enrich, inform, and change their lives forever.

This debut feature from director Mikko Makela is elegantly and sensually photographed in a rustic setting using a simple, direct, slow-building style. The naturalistic dialogue springs from improvised lines by the young stars during filming. With excellent performances from both young leads and from Melender as Leevi’s father, along with steamy sex scenes, thoughtful writing, and poetic metaphors, A Moment in the Reeds is an eloquent, poignant commentary on pain, loneliness, prejudice, intimacy, and the pursuit of love—at once understated and powerfully told.

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  • Language: In Finnish and English with English subtitles
  • Premiere Status: Bay Area