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Games People Play

Directed by: Jenni Toivoniemi
FI 2020117' fi/en/sv

Old friends come together for a surprise party on an island – they do this every ten years, even though the birthday girl isn’t in the mood for partying. Their carefree, traditional activities in the idyllic setting can no longer hide that even the weather vane on the old house is falling apart and, as middle age approaches, issues from the past painfully reappear. Then comes the moment of awareness – youth is fading as quickly and scarily as the sun at sunset, and the red skies could even be the blaze coming from an explosion at the nearby nuclear power station.

This lively comedy is nothing like the Nordic films we’re used to with sparse dialogues – the cresting emotions, irony and verbal exchanges of the characters created by director and screenwriter Jenni Toivoniemi masterfully fit into the nuanced scenes and the natural Finnish landscape. Agonizing melancholy interchanges with apocalyptic anxiety, as does deep emotional injury with smiles and apologies… and without any of the usual consoling self-deception that ‘we still have time’.

Foreword by the programme curator: Class reunions, evenings rehashing the best years of our lives or claiming that the best is yet to come = good dramedy.