Sep 13, 2010

Reindeerspotting (2010) - escape from Santaland


I've been sitting here for ten minutes now, this window open, waiting for me to write about the documentary I just saw, but I didn't know how to begin. Reindeerspotting left me feeling very empty.

Reindeerspotting is about Jani, a young drug addict living in Rovaniemi, Northern Finland, in 2003. The footage is all shot by Jani's friend, describing Jani's everyday life, controlled greatly by drugs, of course, either taking them or worrying about getting the next fix. With a prison sentence approaching, Jani finally decides to carry out his life-long dream - he escapes from Finland and heads to Paris.

Reindeerspotting is sad, upsetting, disturbing, horrifying. It shows in a blunt way what is it like to be a junkie. I had to look away several times - they show people shooting up in their arms very closely, and it's not very pretty. Also, they quite explicitly show and explain how to use Subutex or other drugs. Which would be very wrong if the film didn't give out such a strong anti-drug message. It shows the inhumane life the addicts lead. Drugs are always present - if they're not on them, they talk about them. Only times Jani actually looks happy is when he has a great pile of drugs in front of him, waiting to be used. But we know it's not real happiness. His life is empty, miserable, dangerous, stuck.

And yet he has dreams. He talks about them very sincerely, how he one day wishes to have a small house and a wife and kids. Humble, simple dreams, but many of those in similar situations never come close to achieving them. He also tells how he much he loves his family, though apparently they are not in touch. These parts were definitely the most powerful ones. Saddest, too.

The film is very subtle, plain, bald. There's no dramatic music, no huge climaxes. It's plain reality shown in the least theatrical way possible. We just follow this one person's life for a while. In the end they only tell us that afterwards he got stuck in a circle, going in and out of prison, but we don't know how he ends up.

... Only we do. It was just recently reported that Jani died in Cambodia a few months ago. I don't know if he was ever able to kick drugs, but knowing he didn't live to be thirty makes Reindeerspotting even more upsetting. Did he ever come even close to his dream about the house and the family? I don't know, but I'd like to. Though I have a feeling the truth would make the story of Jani even sadder than it already is.

7 comments:

Pia said...

Ekat 24 vuotta Roissa viettäneenä on pakko sanoa, että en siellä elokuvan kaltaseen menoon oo juuri koskaan törmänny, vaikka yön pikkutunneilla on tullu usein liikuttua keskikaupungilla (oon silti ilonen poismuutosta ;P). Muutaman kerran joku hörhö on tullu tarjoaan jotain, mutta kiltisti lähteny vaan pois kieltäytymisen jälkeen.

Itellä on vielä kattomatta tää, mutta pitäähän se kun kotokaupunkikin taustalla paistaa. Voi olla että tuun myöskin järkyttyyn jossain määrin :D

Pääosatähtihän lehtien mukaan menehtyi viime viikolla, ei kuitenkaan huumeiden johdosta :/

Pia said...

Ups, didn't notice at all that I started to write in finnish. Ahaha :D But fortunately you understand ;)

Eeva said...

Jatkan samaan malliin ja vastaan suomeksi, ei just nyt aivot toimi enkuksi :D Ai siis viime viikolla vasta? Itse muistin lukeneeni jostain, että Jani olisi kuollut jo aikaisemmin, mutta nyt vasta tunnistettiin... En sitten tiedä, voi olla että minulla on väärää tietoa. :) Ikävää joka tapauksessa. Ja juu, onneksi nämä huumepiirit lienee Suomessa suht pienet, eivät juuri häiritse niitä jotka eivät niihin halua sekaantua. Oli tämä silti aika kamala. Mutta kannattaa kyllä katsoa!

(Ohhoh, olipas helppo kirjoittaa, kun ei yhtään tarvinnut pysähtyä miettimään hyvää sanamuotoa tai kirjoitusasua... :D)

Pia said...

Suomeksi kirjottamisen varjopuoleksi voinee silti sanoa sen, että huomaamattaan höpisee murteella, joka ei välttämättä aina oo niin kauheen kivan näköstä :D

Voi olla että iteki oon uutisista jälestä, ja poika on menehtyny aikasemminki. Tänään tosin taas aiheesta oli ainakin Maikkarin sivuilla :/

Mikaela said...

Still haven't seen this, is this already on dvd? The topic for this doc is very important, I'm really interested to see if this is worth all the "fuss" ;O)

Eeva said...

Yep, it's on dvd! I don't know if it was worth all the fuss, but still I think everyone should see this. I'd show this in every shcool, if I got to decide... But it's K-18. A bit dumb. Oh well.

La Nina said...

yes! this should absolutely be shown in schools. Its very disturbing ... and very very far away from being sexy. that's the thing with drugs - lot of films etc are portraying drugs as sexy... I feel very very sorry for Jani and other people in his situation. AM alos wondering why there are never "sober" people around these young junkies. Where are parents? Fed up with their kids or?
May he rest in peace.