NO LONGER RENTABLE
courtesy of Film Republic.
Eden is a coming-of-age film about a Protestant Confirmation camp on a summer’s week, set in the archipelago of Helsinki. The story is told through the eyes of four central characters. Aliisa is a 15-year-old intellectually confident non-believer who looses her critical attitude when she falls in love and starts making friends. Jenna, also 15, is a queen bee who is certain that the camp will become her kingdom but is thrown into an existential crisis instead. Panu is a 15-year-old scared bird but during the camp, he is forced to open up. The experience of these teenagers is affected by Tiina, 25, a young and eager priest. Tiina is irritated by the mild and liberal attitudes of the other counsellors, and she decides to revamp the camp towards religious ecstasy.
Director Ulla Heikkilä says: ‘These camps are basically weeklong Bible study sessions, but as you may imagine, they are just as much about friendships and love. I went to one of these camps, as do 80% of each age group in Finland – whether we believe in God or not. So it’s a really unifying rite of passage in this country. As I got older, I started to wonder what the camps really are about. Is it a nice summer tradition, a safe way to test the limits of your freedom, make friends and find first loves? Or is it a form of manipulation, in which the church gathers a group of extremely vulnerable and extremely hormonal young people to one place, and lets their message sink in in the form of fun and games? I’ve always been interested in religion and in the institutions, rituals and theatrics that we build around our spirituality. Eden sometimes shows the church and the Confirmation Camps in a critical light, but it doesn’t make statements about the existence of God. Eden is a film about group identities and about conforming to the values of others.’
YourScreen audience comments:
‘I was reeled in so slowly that I didn’t realise I had been hooked by this film exploring the dynamics of a group of teens at a Christian camp in Helsinki. Beautifully understated and highly recommended!’
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