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Longtime couple Venla and Antero come to a serious impasse. After years with Antero, Venla wants to start a family, but her boyfriend, worried that parenthood will stifle his speed-skating career, secretly gets a vasectomy. Determined to have a child, Venla seeks help from a female fertility doctor, a decision that breeds new possibilities for the prospective mother when she falls in love with the doctor. Written by
Just saw this movie at the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival. Don't think there are any spoilers, but if you'd rather not know anything, then skip the last few paragraphs.
Lapsia Ja Aikuisia (Producing Adults), is a movie about a woman who is facing a difference of opinion in her relationship with her boyfriend over whether or not to have children. This leads her to eventually question her entire relationship and what she really wants from life. This was a very good film, and the director, Aleksi Salmenpera, was on hand after the showing for a Q&A session.
Some notes from the Q&A (apologies if I misinterpreted anything):
Don't approach it as a comedy or a drama, but take what you can from
The title in English actually refers to a saying something like "the
success of a marriage is not in producing children, but in the children producing adults". The director said the title actually is better in English than in Finnish.
The same can't be said for the translation of the dialog; one of the
audience members who obviously spoke Finnish said the Finnish dialog was great, but the translation missed a lot of the nuances in the script, including some of the vulgarity. The director agreed, and said that he had even spoken to the producer about the quality of the translation.
The film originated out of a film school project.
The director of photography had worked with Salmenpera on two of his
The music in the movie was all original, mainly because they couldn't
afford to use anything else.
It was a one-camera shoot, and took about 40 days of filming.
One scene in the rain did have additional rain added to it, which was
quite obvious, and for which the director apologized. :-)
After a fight, the lead female and male characters are driving home,
and the woman is driving, mainly because the male is injured. However, the director said that for reasons he couldn't articulate, he wanted her to be driving the car in the scene. As one audience member pointed out, it actually makes a statement about her character at that point in the movie.
An opening shot in the movie of speed skaters is meant to convey the
image of sperm, but the director said they couldn't keep up with the skaters, so it kind of lost its effect. :-)
The film had a mix of drama and comedy, but to me, came across primarily as a serious drama, looking at the breakdown in communication in a relationship, initiated by the discussion of children, which causes the lead female character, Venla, to question her entire relationship in general. This leads her to explore other possibilities.
The characters never really talk to each other about their differences or feelings, they tend to avoid it; some might have expected more confrontation and resolution in the dialogue. But I guess that is the point of why their relationship has problems and gives it a more realistic feel. They do attempt therapy, but we never hear what they say; we only see the session with a musical soundtrack.
Overall, I thought the movie was quite good and an interesting look at modern relationships. It was a really good effort for what I understand to be the director's first feature film (and thus why it appeared in the Discovery program of the festival).
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