Review: ‘Raw Youth’

Made according to the rules of Lars von Trier and Co.'s new "dogumentary" manifesto, "Raw Youth" reps a DV-shot portrait of Hauketo Continuation School, an average Norwegian high school in East Oslo, where hormones run rampant and racial tensions run high.

Made according to the rules of Lars von Trier and Co.’s new “dogumentary” manifesto, “Raw Youth” reps a DV-shot portrait of Hauketo Continuation School, an average Norwegian high school in East Oslo, where hormones run rampant and racial tensions run high. Promising young documaker Margreth Olin (“My Body”) coaxes unself-conscious behavior from teen and teacher subjects alike, but real-life drama feels somewhat dragged out. Doc and other specialist fests are likely to enroll pic, with finishing school provided by upmarket cablers.

Filmed mostly from the point of view of the students, “Raw Youth” tracks several typical pupils including unruly Mikel; insecure Kristin; pretty Anne-Lise; and second-generation immigrant Kezim, who’s of Turkish descent. In class, the patient, liberal-minded teachers try to stimulate discussions about violence and nationality and develop interpersonal skills. Adherence to dogumentary code, which strictly regulates how footage can be manipulated in order to ensure authenticity, means pic’s style looks for all intents and purposes like good old-fashioned cinema verite, and so brings to mind Fred Wiseman’s more expansive 1968 doc “High School.”

Raw Youth

Norway-Denmark

Production

A Speranza Film (Norway) production, in association with Zentropa Real (Denmark). (International sales: Norwegian Film Institute, Oslo.) Produced by Carsten Holst, Karoline Leth, Thomas Robsahm. Directed, written by Margreth Olin.

Crew

Camera (DV-to-35mm), Kim Hiorthoy; editor, Helge Billing. Reviewed at Gothenburg Film Festival (Nordic Light), Feb. 6, 2005. Norwegian dialogue. Running time: 83 MIN.
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