The camera tells the truth
Four boys graduate from high school in the wealthy part of Helsinki. Taavi, whose parents have died while he was only a child, inherits his parents' mansion and wealth that was left behind. With all the money he needs and a mansion to live in, Taavi and his friends apparently have a carefree summer ahead of them.
In a graduation party, filled with liquir and women, Taavi obsessively films everything that happens, and when everyone has passed out, he continues eventually filming his friend with a girl.
The morning after, hung over the boys watch the tape and make a dare: Everyone films their doings with a girl, and everyone brings it in. The one with the best tape wins the prize, a statue given to the best graduating pupil.
This leads the boys to separate fates while they all inevitably spiral downwards towards the bottom.
The movie Hymypoika, directed by Jukka Pekka Siili is a stunning and eye opening fable of the exploration of ones' identity taken to the limit. Creating an uproar upon release with it's shameless baring of human body, the movie is destined to become another landmark in Finnish teenager movies.
Unlike other teen drama movies, Hymypoika doesn't fall into a category easily. It's funny and provocative at times like a teen comedy, at other times it's tragic and even sentimental like a drama, but constantly on the background there is a sense of commentary to the society with it's ever preasent reality web-cameras and tv shows. Taavi is the big brother in the movie, he is the all seeing eye that captures everything that is said and done, and yet he cannot watch his own past, stored into tapes and film like his future.
J.P Siili directs the movie with a steady, yet modern, style. While most of the movie is seen as a omnipotent viewer, parts of the movie are seen through the eyes of the protagonists' camera. This gives the viewer of voyeristic feeling without making them feel uncomfortable.
This is one of the most refreshing and different movies that has come from Finland in years, it is right up there with Pitkä Kuuma Kesä and Häjyt.
The dvd is new. Finnish spoken language, subtitles in English. Regionfree all region Pal dvd. Cover art in Finnish.