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Young Gods
Young Gods
Actors: Jussi Nikkilä, Reino Nordin, Jarkko Niemi, Jenni Banerjee, Ville Kivelä
Director: Jukka-Pekka Siili
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
UR     2005     1hr 44min

Taavi is a wealthy and artistic young man who goes nowhere without his camcorder. On his 18th birthday, he inherits his deceased parents' mansion, and immediately throws a wild party. Of course, he tapes the entire drunken...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Jussi Nikkilä, Reino Nordin, Jarkko Niemi, Jenni Banerjee, Ville Kivelä
Director: Jukka-Pekka Siili
Creators: Jarkko T. Laine, Aleksi Bardy, Olli Haikka, Petri Riikonen, Riina Hyytiä, Jaajo Linnonmaa, Jukka Vieno
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: Picture This! Home Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 09/06/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 44min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Private Finnish Film Festival
interested_observer | San Francisco, CA USA | 09/24/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Young Gods (Hymypoika) shows what happens when four male high school students in urban Finland make a pact to accelerate their personal growth by secretly filming themselves having sex with women and then viewing each others' films. The four have a variety of outcomes and receive a variety of responses from the women involved.

The blond on the DVD cover, Jere (played by Reino Nordin), pushes the idea the hardest and gets goateed, romantic Markus (Jarkko Niemi), and awkward Sami (Ville Kivela) to go along. Well-off orphan Taavi (Jussi Nikkila) will compulsively film what he can get away with but does not want to be a performer.

The women swept up in this are Jere's girlfriend, Reeta (Jenni Banerjee), Markus's girlfriend, Mira (Mervi Takatalo), and Jere's sister, Jenni (Evi Suppala). Markus discovers an interest in a policewoman, Helena Paakkonen (Laura Malmivaara).

The students' plots are found out. Girlfriends change or drop boyfriends, there are rape attempts, there is a suicide, some women like being filmed, and one student discovers shocking films of his family's past. To move the action along, there are nude parties, public nude celebrations, standard sex scenes, an S&M anal sex scene, sex with a prostitute, nude conga-lines and more. Some even have homework. There is a lot going on.

Jere, Markus, Sami, and some extras provide full male nudity. The women do too, though they are more discretely positioned. Although none of the characters is gay, there are enough bodies and borderline events to keep a gay audience entertained.

The photography is remarkably good. The actors are convincing.

The extras are trailers, TV spot ad, music video, and English subtitles for the Finnish.

Some ideas are so bad that seeing is believing."
'I Am A Camera'
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 10/02/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Walk down any street in metropolitan areas and the omnipresence of the Big Brother camera is frightening: cell phones now capture all manner of images from friendly to horrific, cameras at stores' entries scan customers like a police state, police have license plate detecting cameras on their vehicles, strolling youngsters and tourists have the ubiquitous camcorders recording sights and other people's privacy - the list is endless. This strangely mesmerizing film 'HYMYPOIKA' (Young Gods) from Finland addresses these facts and builds a story around just how invasive and destructive the personal hand-held video camera has become. '1984'? Yes, in many ways it is.

Director Jukka-Pekka Siili has taken an idea from Jaajo Linnonmaa, passed it through screenwriter Jukka Vieno, and though Jarkko T. Laine is credited as the cinematographer, Siili records this story as though he were the one holding the intrusive camera. The technical aspects of the film - black and white into color into white noise screen into abrupt movement, odd angles, etc - are a strategically important aspect of the film's success.

Taavi (Jussi Nikkilä), the enigmatic 18-year-old lead, has just inherited his long-deceased wealthy parents home and estate. It is highschool graduation and Taavi's birthday, and after his fiends greet him au natural and are arrested (the policewoman Helena Pääkkönen - Laura Malmivaara - is attractive and forgiving), Taavi invites his friends to the mansion for a wild party. Taavi lives with a recording camera to his eye, a machine that allows his to keep interpersonal distance from everyone. Among his friends are Jere (Reino Nordin) who considers himself a woman's man, Markus (Jarkko Niemi) who appears the well-adjusted one, and chubby, pierced Sami (Ville Kivelä) whose sexuality is ambiguous. The party gets wild, guests sleep around, and Taavi records it all!

When Taavi's friends discover his deed, a pact is made: each of the four young men will videotape their own sexual encounter. This contest begins innocently enough for the boys, but when the girls photographed en flagrante discover the ploy, anger erupts and varying degrees of tragedy occur. As with many invasive games, this contest progresses to humiliation, rape, and worse, and finally leads to the truth about Taavi's secrets about his parents and his own personality disorder - all focused on the video camera as the source of evil.

The film is daring, entertaining, frightening, cruel and dissecting all at once. While many may dismiss this as just another example of foreign film exploitational technique, there is much more to the story than meets the first encounter. Siili has uncovered truths about our current preoccupation with privacy invasion and they are loudly criticized here. This unrated movie is not a film for the squeamish, but it is a significant statement that needed to be made. Grady Harp, October 05"
Much better than I expected
RaabH | USA | 09/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is certainly not a comfortable film to watch. Despite the many sexual scenes there is little to titillate .. for example, one boy pursues an adventure in S&M that descends to levels he hasn't anticipated, while another sexual situation -- between a husband and wife and played back from an old videotape -- is almost too horrifying to watch. (I won't say more about the latter for fear of spoiling a key revelation about one of the characters.)

The main story follows a group of rich kids who create a kind of "film club" where membership requires you to secretly videotape your sexual exploits. Periodically the boys get together to watch everyone's work and award the best submission. As you might expect, things gradually spin out of control. One boy loses his girlfriend, another meets a woman with whom he wants much more than a sex-tape relationship, and another (the hapless and awkward one) struggles to achieve a conquest that will impress his friends. (Perhaps too predictably, his story becomes the most tragic of all.)

Director Siili paces everything beautifully and the film's editing deserves special mention .. it incorporates all the video footage in a manner that is virtuostic while managing not to be headache-inducing. This movie was much better than I expected and delivers a powerful message about the cost of pursuing one's own pleasure at the expense of real connection with others."
Scandanavian Coming-of-Age
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 02/06/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

""Young Gods"

Scandanavian Coming-of-Age

Amos Lassen

Looking at our world where there seems to be little guidance for youth to find spiritual context. "Young Gods" looks at confusion in the minds of four young Finns--all high school graduates. There is Taavi whose father has just died and left him his wealth. He looks at and moves through life at a distance and sees everything through the lens of his camcorder. Jere is dead emotionally even though he has a girlfriend with whom he finds no comfort. Sami is overweight, plain and lacks self-esteem and Markus has good intentions but is totally immature.
The four take an oath to film their sexual experiences and this desire to film sex becomes the most important thing in their lives. All four boys seem to have bo strong father image so they are on their own to learn about sex and their encounters are loveless. The oath that they took eventually brings them to feel emptiness and they succumb to violence rather that feel love that they have within themselves. They want love but have no idea how to find it or to even look for it.
What the film seems to tell us is that big brother is watching us all of the time, hence, the metaphor of Taavi's camera. Director Jukka-Pekka Slili shows us his story as if he is holding the camera himself and this gives us a voyeuristic aspect.
This is quite a daring fim and it is also somewhat cruel. It shows us some truths about our preoccuptation with privacy invasion. It is based on a wonderful idea but is just does not work in realization. The boys act as complete and utter careless foolish teenagers and the film moves at a snail's pace. I was completely unprepared for what I saw.