Playing as part of the 2018 Vancouver Queer Film Festival, A Moment in the Reeds is the story of a young man who returns home to Finland to help his father fix up the summer cottage. The father has also hired a recent Syrian refugee to help. The two eventually begin an affair.
Director, writer, editor, and co-producer Mikko Makela creates a naturalistic melancholy that feels overly pensive, almost lackadaisical. Given his hand on multiple fronts with the film, it is as if the filmmaker is too close to his story to effectively see how it plays.
The themes explored in the screenplay include death, refugees, racism, letting-go and growing up, but they are all giving only a surface level exploration. The two lovers are not given much personality, and instead they stare at each other a lot, talking quietly about things and occasionally giggling softly.
The stakes are low for all these soft-spoken characters. Dad knows his son is gay so there is no strife there; he seems casually racist, but not dangerously so. At one point the lovers are embroiled in an unexplained tension that goes nowhere, but for a leisurely bike ride to, and from, a closed store that eats up 20 minutes of screen time.
Late in the film the young refugee claimant wonders why it is taking so long for his refugee claim to be processed. It was a sentiment shared by my friend turned to me at that point and said, “just like this film”.
A Moment in the Reeds screens as part of the 2018 Vancouver Queer Film Festival on 14 August 2018 at 9:30 pm and repeats on 15 August 2018 at 7:00pm at Cineplex Odean International Village Cinemas. Visit queerfilmfestival.ca for tickets and information.