Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"Let My People Go!": French and Finnish gay men play Moses

Let Me People Go!”, by Mikael Buch, mixes a lot of cultures in a situation comedy.  It starts in a pastel gingerbread house in a Finnish forest where Ruben (Nicholas Maury) lives with Teemu (Jarko Niemi).  
Ruben is French and Jewish and looks it, and Teemu is “Nordic”.  Ruben works as a mail letter carrier.  One day he delivers a package with a huge amount of cash.  After signing for it, the elderly recipient tries to get him to take it back.  He does, after a scuffl,e.   Teemu, a schoolteacher who seems pretty responsible (except in a scene in a forest dunbuggy)  kicks him out of the house, properly fearful of his lover’s foolishness.  But Ruben travels to France for Passover, and his luggage gets lost.
What follows is a series of family escapades, some gay, some straight, and some having to do with Jewish identity.  In one scene, Ruben asks if he can give up being Jewish.  No, you can’t.  There is some mention of the idea that the Jews have wronged Palestinians in order to re-establish their identity. 
In a comic finale, Ruben does get in trouble with the law, before Teemu (who speaks English and Finnish) comes to France to reunite with Ruben.  It sounds like comic opera.
The title of the film refers to embedded scenes from the Paramount film “The Ten Commandments”. 
There is a flashback of a little Jewish history where the screen compresses (from “Scope”) to standard aspect ratio, which does not work too well in a theater that already crops to shot 2.35:1. 
The site from Zeitgeist films is here.

I saw this film at the West End Cinema Wednesday night before a fair crowd, early show.
My favorite Finnish film is “Joki” (“The River”, 2001), several interlocking stories that circle around in time (the way “Pulp Fiction” does).  

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