Synopsis by Andrea LeVasseur
Finnish writer/director Arto Koskinen makes his feature film debut with the childhood drama Kahlekuningas (The Handcuff King). Set in the mid-'70s on the border between Sweden and Finland, the story opens in winter as 12-year-old Finnish boy Esko (Miikka Enbuske) is about to attempt a Houdini-like magic trick. Flashbacks show events of the previous summer when he was an outcast from his friends and ended up spending time with a Swedish boy named Patrick (Emil Lundberg) who was obsessed with Houdini. Despite some resentment from parents and other kids, the boys share adventures and protect each other from bullies. Back at home, Esko's parents are splitting up and his grandfather is traumatized from the war. The Handcuff King made its U.S. premiere at the 2003 Seattle International Film Festival.