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Tough, tougher, audience
by Riku Pyhala
Issue 12
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Six years have now passed since the release of one of the most influential movies in contemporary Finnish cinema. 'Levottomat' (eng. Restless) became a serious box-office hit during a time when the Finnish economy was more than flying: internet bubble was still floating and companies like Riot-e made their way. The movie shocked its viewers then, and some still haven't recovered.

The movie has been accused of both overly sexual marketing and pornographic nudity. But as the moviemakers at the time commented: this is the way to catch the attention of Finnish audiences; this is how you get them to listen. But where did these marketing values go? What happened to young and sexy actresses in tight clothing? You rarely see a thigh in today's movie trailers!

After 'Levottomat', every campaign to advertise a film has been watched through a magnifying glass. In 2003, Jukka-Pekka Siili´s 'Hymypoika' (eng. Young Gods) crossed the line: much of the audience boycotted it because of the nudity in the trailer. This really gave a lesson to movie producers.

So the biggest change hasn't been in Finnish sexual traditions, the change has been in movie business. Movies are doing pretty well at the moment, though the government still doesn't fully appreciate its cultural value. Finnish movies are gaining more viewers, more money and therefore marketing campaigns have become less sexual. Sex isn't needed anymore. Producers have no need - or will - to shock.

Still these days there are a few ways to catch peoples' attention, and nudity is one of the more efficient. Violence is another one, but the choice should really be easy, in case you aren't Tarantino. But moviemakers have definitely learned the dangers and the values of shocking audience. And so has the audience itself, maybe so well that nothing shocks it anymore. But wasn't that what 'Levottomat' was all about?
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