This movie is a "dogumentary" - presented by Lars von Trier. There was a set of nine rules similar to the dogme rules. It wasn't allowed to use archive footage, hidden camera, manipulation of sound and picture, extra soundtrack etc.. See more »
Berit, school counsellor:
But surely you must see in the mirror that you're quite pretty now?
I don't grade myself.
Berit, school counsellor:
No, but enjoy the progress. You'll lose your puppy fat and get more and more attractive. You're in bloom.
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Director Margreth Olin follows three groups of kids around a school in East Oslo before their final exams.
Director Margreth Olin follows a number of students at "Hauketo Ungdomskole" in Oslo the last months before the final exams. The film is made in accordance with a set of rules dictated by Lars Von Trier, hence the genre-description "dogumentary". Examples of such rules is that no lighting or other optical effects can be used, and that there must be a black cut between every scene. This has, of course, significant impact on the film's aesthetics. The short black cuts between every scene gives the film a fragmented impression, something which is further established by the fact that the film has no (conventional) narrative. The only thing that "holds together" the film as a unity, is the reoccurring characters (Kazim, Mikal and Anne-Lise as the most significant ones) and the fact that all the action takes place at Hauketo Ungdomskole.
Although the film is edited from some 120 hours of footage down to about 80 minutes, the film gives an objective impression. It shows us how teachers interact with students and how students interact with each other. Some of the most important themes that we discover throughout the film are communication breakdown between generations, violence and how concrete incidents of violence (e.g. the racially motivated murder of Benjamin Hermansen) as well as violence in general (e.g. the ongoing war in Iraq) affects the youth.
As viewer one often gets frustrated with the students' behavior; many of them are violent, many of them show a total lack of respect towards authorities, they generally treat each other badly and the majority of the students we follow seemingly makes no effort in school. Whether you aim your frustration at the inability of the teachers, the youth in general, the school-system or something else; the poem which is read at the end of the film will probably shed some new light on your reception of the film. The poem is the same as the one the film borrows its title from, namely "Ungdommens råskap" written by the Norwegian author Jens Bjørneboe.
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