Finland, Belgium, Germany, 2019
directed by: Reetta Huhtanen
“Gods of Moleenbeek” which was singled out to open great festivals like Doc Point in Helsinki and Visions du Réel in Nyon, is certainly the documentary that has significantly marked the beginning of 2019.
The enchanting magic of childhood; the infinite contemplation over a leaf, a frog, a dark hole; accidental encounters that become the most significant ones in the world; the games which are the funniest and the most serious thing; curiosity, laughter, tiers, the unimaginable existence of honesty… Mesmerised and drawn by the stories of her nephew Aatos, the young Finnish author, Reetta Huhtanen, decided to document that uniqueness of the children’s world, trying to create the special point of view of her little heroes. Her work, very much like irresistible episodes of children’s encounters and play, is intertwined with another important element – Moleenbeek. First it is the suburb of Brussels where Aatos and his friends live, and then at one moment, unexpectedly, it becomes, in the media, the most prominent place on the map of Europe. Those dynamic events happen somewhere in the background of the children’s world, but they significantly influence their new, important philosophical contemplations. Surrounded by Muslims, his best friend Amine being one as well, Aatos asks himself what “a Muslim” is, and as he learns more and more, he comes to the question of God, who often makes everything into a battlefield of endless conflicts. The most important questions begin to torment a six-year-old boy and he sets off on an unusual quest and dialog with gods.
The young author and the great cinematographer Hannu-Pekka Vitikainen, who also produced this movie, became part of the children’s world in an amazingly successful way, creating shots and scenes as seen and experienced by the children. The camera is part of the game – it runs, hides, it is always in the middle of the most important event, and it is always discrete and almost unnoticeable. Reetta Huhtanen has, in the manner of the greatest Finnish documentaries, created a film with a dynamic, playful structure, where a special place is reserved for lively pictures of gods depicted by the main character in a fun and humorous way. “Gods of Moleenbeek” is a magnificent documentary which discovers deep truths about the adult world by telling stories of the exciting little worlds.
Reetta Huhtanen is a filmmaker based in Helsinki. She graduated with a master of arts from the ELO Film School Finland at Aalto University, majoring in documentary film directing. Beside her study of film, she graduated with a BA in sociology and philosophy. Currently, alongside filmmaking, she is a doctoral student at Aalto University. As a documentarist she is described to have “an ability to see the absurd in recent phenomenon through her twisted vision” and as someone who “in social topics collides serious with playful”.