Jul/2017

Film Review: ‘Teenage’!!!

by Red Zeppelbon on Apr 30th, 2014

Hello, Jana here,

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I spent some time reviewing the documentary ‘Teenage‘ today. Jon Savage is a Cambridge educated writer, broadcaster and music journalist. He is known for his award-winning history of the Sex Pistols and punk music. This documentary was based on his book ‘Teenage: The Creation of Youth Culture‘. Director Matt Wolf co-wrote the script with Savage. Featuring voices that tell first-hand accounts from American, British and German viewpoints while a collage of archival material give the film its depth. Narrative voices performed by Jena Malone, Ben Whishaw, Ahlden Ehrenreich, Ben Rosenfield and Jessie Usher among others.

 

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One of the first lines of narrative you’re given is the ideal that teenagers haven’t always been given the lifestyle they have today. Being a teenager was basically a war-time invention. Prior to child labor-laws, children grew until they were 12 or 13 then were sent to work where they labored upwards of 74 hours a week in 1904. Once the child labor-laws went into effect there was a different category for children when they reached adolescence. Teenagers were born.

This film sees the various stages that being a teenager has seen come and go. From flappers, jitterbuggers, victory girls and sub-debs, there comes with each generation a new incarnation of what being a teenager means. In the midst of the narrative, we learn what being a part of the Hitler Youth meant. Seen originally as a type of scout camp on weekends, it eventually took on a darker tone the further the war-effort stretched. From an early on-set, political groups learned that teenagers are the biggest population that can be swayed either good or bad.

 

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The film shows the influence current music had on the events of the day. Teenagers were the initial barrier-breakers when it came to the race issue. A generation that existed seemingly only to oppose the older generation, the two fought on everything. From leisure activities, to music and fashion. Eventually there was a compromise where teenagers were allowed to have freedoms with parents ultimately having control. Teenagers are the generation who fight for ultimate change. This was a fairly decent and highly informative film, which I found impressive. ‘Teenage‘ is a solid documentary.

4 out of 4 STARS

– Jana Bowin

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