Freetime Machos

Mika Ronkainen, 86 min, Finland, Germany.

During a rugby match, Matti broke his pinky finger. It hurts something awful, but his friends just make fun of him: a real man would at least break an arm or a leg. In Freetime Machos, we meet Matti, his best friend Mikko, and a couple other members of the most northern and third worst rugby club in the world. What motivates a Finnish man? As depressing as the opening quote might make us think -- "The bedroom is a place to sleep and to copulate, not to get pleasure through sex" -- it is not all that bad. In a casual, lighthearted fashion, director Mika Ronkainen observes these melancholy men who are much more boyish and mild-mannered than they would like us to think. After losing the umpteenth match, they confide in each other on the bus. Company turmoil at Nokia plays a role, as do the suicide of a friend and changes in the family. One moving scene is the meeting with a foreign girl who wants to play on their team. She is pretty good, but the rules do not allow for coed play. When it is time for her to leave, one of the men takes her to the airport and embraces her. "At least one of the guys touched me to say goodbye," she laughs.