Under Gottsunda – A crystal clear portrayal of the unseen, unheard youth in society
Directed by: Viktor Johansson
Viktor Johansson is a Swedish author who turned his focus to Film making with the filming of his soon to be released (VOD) debut “Under Gottsunda”. The film is the offspring of his book “The Dark Sport” and a study he did where he would interview underprivileged youth about what they did with their free time to cope with the hardships they faced in day to day life. He took some of the stories the teens told him, and mixed it with fictional ones of similar tone to make this documentary/drama hybrid. The film centers solely on the youth living in a housing project in Uppsala, Sweden, It bounces between a handful of them as we learn their stories and watch as they retreat into subcultures to avoid the harshness of life in their situation (There is an especially profound moment where one of the boys says “There are interrogations all of the time, but nobody really listens.”)
Through the film the things that struck me the most was how, in most of their cases, the kids were not only blaming their parents (and often rightfully so) for their hard living but they were really rebelling against their elders and the ideals that they had lived by. Instead turning to whatever subculture that was available to them and whomever would accept them.
They are unseen, ignored, and undervalued. And, so they act out. Some do so in a positive way, and others do so with the all too familiar criminal activity that seems to say “Even negative attention is more than no attention at all”. Much like Harmony Korine and Larry Clark’s “Kids” or Korine’s “Gummo”, Johansson’s film shows the gritty side of life for youth who when ignored and given no alternative seek out ways to deal with the things happening around them.