Published May 04, 2009When Copenhagen's city hall reneges on a contract, closing the town Youth House without securing a replacement, the kids fight back. Since 1982, the Youth House has provided a haven to anarchists, punks, queers and other young outcasts. With their backs against the wall, the kids battle riot cops on the streets and get tossed in jail.
There's a romantic sentiment to this film that isn't entirely convincing. The problem lies with the Youth House itself. Only one character — a young homosexual who was ostracized in his hometown — declares the Youth House as the only place that'll accept him. Fine, but that's not enough to really understand why they're risking their necks protecting their home. What about the other occupants who appear to drink beer and play foosball? Just what exactly does the Youth House mean to them? I suspect that answer is we all need to belong somewhere, but 69 fails to show that.
Instead, we watch the kids hurl rocks at cops, who in turn lob tear gas. The culprit is neither side but instead the Mayor and City Council, who sweep the youths under the rug by banishing them from the house without finding them a new roof, despite a legal promise.
Director Nikolaj Viborg captures some first-hand footage of the street fighting, which is riveting to watch. Viborg is clearly on the side of the youths but that comes at the expense of understanding the side of the politicians or the police. There are lots of riots, sure, but what else? (Bastard)