Last night, the City Kino Wedding in Berlin hosted the theatrical release premiere of the film “Youth Topia” (Artkeim²) by Dennis Stormer. Actors, film crew and guests came together to celebrate the launch of this film, which is now being shown nationwide on the UCM.ONE film distribution label Artkeim².
“Youth Topia” takes a look at a not-too-distant future in which an algorithm determines the transition from youth to adulthood. The plot focuses on young Vanya, whose life is suddenly controlled by an AI that chooses her dream job and apartment. The film depicts the tension between the longing for the old neon-glitter life and an existence controlled by technology and encourages reflection on the limits of self-optimization and the role of digitalization in modern society.
“Youth Topia” is the portrait of a young generation that is beginning to understand that the privilege of self-realization is a lonely path. A generation that misses a community under the pressure to succeed that it has created, a generation that feels that simply being in the world is the highest form of happiness.
The film dares a lot; constant format changes, shaky cell phone shots, a calf in the living room. It’s a raw kind of cinematography, reminiscent of common social media content and thus constantly referencing reality. A huge, white dust mountain that rises up under Electro Pop as a film backdrop again underpins the feeling of a cinematic utopia.
What do a riot bride, a would-be shaman, a sensitive babyface, a forty-year-old conspiracy theorist and a sneaky party brat have in common? They are absolute good-for-nothings who together defy the social trend of self-realization. Wanja, Greta, Sören, Maul and Leona clutter up their social media with antisocial content day in, day out. This is how they prevent the ubiquitous algorithm from calculating a dream job for them. The only plan they have is to hang out as so-called long-term youths, surrounded by successful adults.
Vanya regularly oversteps the mark and so everyone is really surprised when, out of the blue, the algorithm offers her the very job of her dreams in an architecture firm. Now she thinks she’s particularly clever and believes she can have both; a glittering career with all the privileges of the adult world and the dopamine rich party life in the arms of her dorky best friends. Contributing, being praised, and being the overachiever in the office feels unexpectedly good. Wanja accepts the fact that drugs are less fun because they are now consumed legally and that she can’t sleep at night because she feels lonely.
She dutifully climbs the career ladder and only hesitates when the next step means the ultimate betrayal of her friends. That’s when the young adult begins to understand that the brainwashed teenagers are still better off than the adults because they preserve a rare commodity; community. Vanya does everything she can to preserve this community and is willing to become youthful again to do so.