The story is pretty simple. Leevi, a handosme young Finnish guy has been living and studying in Paris and has just returned home to Finland for the summer to help his father renovate their old lake house. Leevi’s relationship with his father, is strained since he is an old-fashioned man. I believe he knows of Leevi's sexuality and doesn't approve of it. The father hires a young man, Tareq, through an agency who can help renovate the house . When Tareq arrives, he doesn't speak any Finnish and we get to know that he is a Syrian asylum seeker desperately looking to make a life for himself. When the father is called away for work, the two young men bond over beers and soon find themselves in bed together. This goes on for a couple of days till the father realizes and he fires Tareq with racial insults. Tareq's self respect is high enough for him to leave immediately, despite Leevi wanting to come with him but Tareq needs to be on his own to figure out stuff for himself. Love that could have been something so special is broken, just like that.
It's interesting how things are relative for each individual. Leevi found Finland to be suffocating and feels more at ease in Paris. Meanwhile Tareq sees Finland as a land of freedom and opportunity compared to Syria and his very conservative family. The film is very very real and the emotions are easy to connect with. The scene where Tareq is mad and unsure whether he wants his family to join him in Finland is brilliant. Its a brilliant depiction if family values of the middle-east and how family always comes first but its also about Tareq wanting to be free finally. How will he choose one over the other? Direction is brilliant with some amazing scenes overall. The built up of intimacy between Leevi and Tareq is filled with awkwardness but also love and passion. There are lots of silent moments that add to the authenticity of the film. Like someone said, "There’s an admirable quiet intensity to this film" and i cant agree more. The initial sex scenes eventually give them time to know each other better as people and it is very evident that both the boys are way too much into each other. They have both been looking for true meaningful love, yet its eluded them and this could be their chance. The chemistry between the 2 leads is 100% believable and magnificent. You can see they are in love and eventual pain after a sudden break-up, when rightfully so, Tareq's self-respect and dignity is bigger than anything else; even though if its not Leevi's fault. Its rare to see such amazing chemistry, completely natural with enough emotional and sexual intensity. Both men are forced to confront issues in their lives that have long been ignored.
This film is a low budget film but a very effective cinematography of the Finnish landscape and the magical chemsitry of the leads makes this film worth every minute. The actors are brilliant. Its slow, sensitive, poignant and hits the right emotions. This film lingers with you for long and I for once, want to get to know the sensitive refugee Tareq up and close. (8/10)