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Johanna ter Steege
I recently saw this at the 2008 Palm Springs International Film Festival. Director/Writer Aleksi Salmenperä, Producer Tero Kaukomaa and Actor Jani Volanen were on hand for a Q&A following the film. This film was Finland's official entry for Best Foreign Language Film for the Academy Award and is the second feature for Salmenperä. This is a small film but very good and features a great cast with plenty of interesting characters. Juha (Tommi Korpela) is a big, strong stone worker at a factory who has resorted to stealing company equipment to help make ends meet at home where he has three young children and a depression medicated wife Katja (Maria Heiskanen). After Juha loses his job he decides to try his luck as a handyman doing bulletin board solicited home repairs. With the help of his best friend Oli (Jani Volanen), his new job quickly evolves into that of a male prostitute for mature women with Oli serving as his secretary and chauffeur and another friend creating a website to offer his services on. Katja of course, must not find out about Juha losing his job and his new line of work so another friend covers for him at his old job should his wife call there and Juha leaves the house early every day to give the illusion of his typical job routine and changes into his old work clothes before he comes home. Since much of his work as a male call guy is at night he concocts a story that he is doing a home repair job after work for extra money that will take several months to complete. There are plenty of comic situations here but it is also a gritty drama and Salmenperä did a lot of research into the world of heterosexual male prostitutes to come up with his story which give a believability to the clientèle Juha encounters. Nicely photographed by cinematographer Tuomo Hutri, I would give this an 8.0 out of 10 and recommend it.
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