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Producing Adults

First feature from young Finnish filmmaker Aleksi Salmenpera, "Producing Adults" is an entertaining drama-comedy about longing for a child and the unexpected turns love can take. Exposure in Toronto should get it picked by gay- and lesbian-themed fests, and an English-speaking remake is definitely a possibility.

With:
With: Minna Haapkyla, Minttu Mustakallio, Kari-Pekka Toivonen, Tommi Eronen, Pekka Strang.

First feature from young Finnish filmmaker Aleksi Salmenpera, “Producing Adults” is an entertaining drama-comedy about longing for a child and the unexpected turns love can take. Exposure in Toronto should get it picked by gay- and lesbian-themed fests, and an English-speaking remake is definitely a possibility.

Venla (Minna Haapkyla) and Antero (Kari-Pekka Toivonen) are living together and childless. Venla dreams about getting pregnant; Antero is reluctant. Venla is deaf to Antero’s worries that having a child would mean a great responsibility and a new way of life, while he clearly does not understand how much having a family would mean to her. In the end, he agrees on them trying, but secretly does everything he can to make sure they don’t conceive, even considering sterilization.

Venla works as a psychologist at a fertility clinic, and is surrounded daily by those discussing their problems with childlessness. Her job is to decide who will receive artificial insemination — and she starts thinking about using one of the frozen sperm-samples herself.

Venla begins confiding her problems to a doctor at the clinic, Satu (Minttu Mustakallio). When circumstances throw them together, they realize the feelings they have for each other are deeper than they’d thought.

“Producing Adults” is a small but charming film, with two appealing leading ladies in Haapkyla and Mustakallio, who play with conviction the parts of women who end up in a relationship they never had dreamed about. The lesbian theme comes gradually and naturally into the story which never succumbs to the men-are-bad, women-are-fine cliche that too often sinks similar films. Character motivations — including Antero’s — are treated with respect.

Salmenpera tells his story in a straightforward manner, both the comic and dramatic moments. The sex scenes are realistic, but fairly discreet, and nudity is kept to a minimum. All tech credits are fine, with special mention to d.p. Tuomo Hutri’s excellent shots of Helsinki by night.

Producing Adults

Finland

Production: A Sonet Film AB-release (in Sweden) of a Blind Spot Pictures production in association with Sonet Films and Film i Vast, with support from the Finnish Film Foundation, Yle TV1, Canal plus (Scandinavia). (International sales: Celluloid Dreams, Paris). Produced by Petri Jokiranta, Tero Kaukomaa. Co-producers, Helena Danielsson, Peter Possne, Tomas Eskilsson. Directed by Aleksi Salmenpera. Written by Pekko Pesonen.

Crew: Camera (color), Tuomo Hutri; editor, Kimmo Taavila; music, Timo Hietala; art director, Annika Bjorkman; costume designer, Tiina Kaukanen; sound (Dolby Digital), Janne Laine. Reviewed at Haugesund Film Festival, Aug. 22, 2004. (Also in Toronto Film Festival -- Discovery). Running time: 102 MIN.

With: With: Minna Haapkyla, Minttu Mustakallio, Kari-Pekka Toivonen, Tommi Eronen, Pekka Strang.

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