Matti and Mikko play for Finland's worst amateur rugby team. Overworked and domesticated, the two men long for a space to revel in their masculinity and bond with other men. While weekend rugby allows them to indulge in a communal fantasy of virility, between practices the teammates struggle with their more real and often emasculating day-to-day concerns: Mikko buys a new house, Matti's girlfriend pressures him for commitment, and a drive for new members draws interest only from a young Spanish woman whose attempts to carve out a place for herself on the team change the group's homosocial dynamic in unexpected ways.
Director Mika Ronkainen's smart editing places the teammates' delusions of manliness in stark and comic contrast to their mundane lives and conspicuously subpar athleticism. By underlining the humor in this juxtaposition of exaggerated machismo and banal reality, Ronkainen presents his heroes as effortlessly charming even as they're peacocking. Freetime Machos follows Matti, Mikko, and their teammates over the course of one season, on a quest to secure just a single win, crafting a gentle, genuine, and disarmingly funny love story of modern male friendship.
Director's Statement Collapse
Playing rugby close to the Arctic Circle is not really what masses do. The world's second most popular sport has not attracted much attention in Finland. This doesn't stop the Oulu rugby team from enjoying their fast-paced, dangerous, and demanding sport, which is demanding after the matches, too. The so-called third half-time is all about getting totally wasted and plastered before returning to their families, wives, and girlfriends.
Many Finnish men feel that modern society has castrated the Finnish male. They are confused about their role. Displays of masculinity are not appreciated, and at work not even needed any more. You just sit behind your laptop.
As a counter-reaction to this, Finnish men started to superficially underline their masculinity. A new Finnish term, äijyys, became fashionable. It means being a true man, a tough guy, but half jokingly, with self-irony. Making chauvinistic and over-heterosexual statements so that the listener can't be certain if they mean it or not. Nevertheless, being an äijä, a true man, is not politically correct at all. And it definitely is not gay.
Some of the players in the team are fit athletes who work out, others are out of shape with love handles from comfortable living. However, all of them share the interest in a tough contact sport. Rugby is their chance to be burly, beefy, brawny, true men at least during their free time. But when soft men try to be tough, it may become a comedy. And when there is a comedy, there's a tragedy, too. A tragedy about friendship and loss, set in the Northern landscape.
Cast & Credits Collapse
Primary Cast Matti Keränen, Mikko Koljonen, Roger Holden, Jarmo Stoor, Tuomo Jaakkonen, Ana Vidal
Director Mika Ronkainen
Screenwriter Mika Ronkainen
Producers Mika Ronkainen, Kimmo Paananen
Editor Anders Villadsen
Directors of Photography Vesa Taipaleenmäki, Mika Ronkainen
Composers Samuli Putro, Ahti Marja-aho
About the Director(s)Collapse
Mika Ronkainen has made award-winning and acclaimed documentaries like Screaming Men, Our Summer, Car Bonus, Before the Flood, and Father's Day. He works also as producer, editor, and composer and cofounded the Air Guitar World Championships. Ronkainen lives and works in Oulu, northern Finland, the hometown of the rugby club.