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Youth Culture in Global Cinema

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    Youth Culture in Global Cinema
    Book Description:

    Coming of age is a pivotal experience for everyone. So it is no surprise that filmmakers around the globe explore the experiences of growing up in their work. From blockbuster U.S. movies such as theHarry Potterseries to thought-provoking foreign films such asBend It Like BeckhamandWhale Rider, films about youth delve into young people's attitudes, styles, sexuality, race, families, cultures, class, psychology, and ideas. These cinematic representations of youth also reflect perceptions about youth in their respective cultures, as well as young people's worth to the larger society. Indeed, as the contributors to this volume make plain, films about young people open a very revealing window on the attitudes and values of cultures across the globe.

    Youth Culture in Global Cinemaoffers the first comprehensive investigation of how young people are portrayed in film around the world. Eighteen established film scholars from eleven different national backgrounds discuss a wide range of films that illuminate the varied conditions in which youth live. The essays are grouped thematically around the issues of youthful resistance and rebellion; cultural and national identity, including religion and politics; and sexual maturation, including gender distinctions and coming-of-age queer. Some essays engage in close readings of films, while others examine the advertising and reception of films or investigate psychological issues. The volume concludes with filmographies of over 700 youth-related titles arranged by nation and theme.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-79574-7
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-X)
    (pp. XI-XII)
    Timothy Shary and Alexandra Seibel
    (pp. XIII-XVI)
    (pp. 1-6)

    One of the best youth films released in the United States in 2005 was an unassuming drama calledThe Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, which follows four teenage girls from the U.S. as they explore different locales during a high school summer. In Greece, Lena (Alexis Bledel) encounters both fascination and frustration with her relatives, who oppose her romance with a local boy. In Mexico, Bridget (Blake Lively) shows off her great athletic skills at soccer camp, even though her interest in a coach takes up most of her attention. Carmen (America Ferrera) travels to North Carolina (although the actual...


    • CHAPTER 1 AMERICAN JUVENILE DELINQUENCY MOVIES AND THE EUROPEAN CENSORS: The Cross-Cultural Reception and Censorship of The Wild One, Blackboard Jungle, and Rebel Without a Cause
      (pp. 9-26)

      In the mid-1950s, the gradual relaxation of the Hollywood Production Code and the growth of independent filmmaking brought to the forefront a whole series of American movies which openly explored taboo-breaking subjects around sexuality, crime, and the use of drugs. One strand of movies causing a heated public controversy dealt with the social problem of juvenile delinquency. Films likeThe Wild One(1953),Blackboard Jungle(1955), andRebel Without a Cause(1955) directly confronted the issue of postwar youngstersʹ crime and gang life, initiating cycles of teenpic exploitation films often called juvenile delinquency movies (Gilbert, 178–195; Doherty, 1–18;...

    • CHAPTER 2 THE IMPORTED REBELLION: Criminal Guys and Consumerist Girls in Postwar Germany and Austria
      (pp. 27-36)

      In April of 1956, a West German film production company organized a discussion panel that set out to negotiate a fervent question. The question was directed toward Berlinʹs postwar youth, printed on red billboards throughout the city: ʺAre you really like this?ʺ ʺThisʺ meant deviant, delinquent, or dangerous.

      The actual reason for posing the question at this particular time was the promotional campaign that had just started for Georg Tresslerʹs teen movieDie Halbstarken(West Germany, 1956). Even before its completion, the film gained special attention with the public, not least because of the title ʺHalbstarkeʺ and its pejorative association...

    • CHAPTER 3 REBELS WITH A CAUSE: Children versus the Military Industrial Complex
      (pp. 37-56)

      The postwar period from 1945 has been labeled many things—the jet age, the television age, the space age—yet the most resilient nomenclature is that of the atomic age or nuclear era. Throughout the Cold War (1945–1991), American cinema produced a significant number of films that broached issues concerning the development, testing, and deployment of nuclear weapons, and their associated technologies.¹ This essay considers a small but important number of films that challenge assumptions about the depiction of children as naïve innocents or impotent victims of the atomic age.

      Much of the scholarship on this body of film...


    • CHAPTER 4 CHINESE “YOUTH PROBLEM” FILMS IN THE 1980S: The Apolitics of Rebellion
      (pp. 59-70)

      In February 2004, Chun Shu, a Beijing teenage writer, appeared on the cover ofTime Asia. Chun, along with another high school-dropout-turned-writer, Han Han, punk rocker Li Yang, and computer hacker Man Zhou, were described inTimeʹs lead article as the embodiment of disaffected Chinese youth and were labeledlinglei, a word used to carry negative connotations of ʺa disreputable hooliganʺ but in the official dictionary defined as ʺan alternative lifestyleʺ (Feb. 2, 2004). While it is remarkable to see Chineselingleiyouth in the cover story of a prestigious Western magazine, we should be aware that Chinese youth, whether...

    • CHAPTER 5 THE AGE OF TRANSITION: Angels and Blockers in Recent Eastern and Central European Films
      (pp. 71-86)

      Anyone even vaguely familiar with Eastern and Central European films will notice their preoccupation with children and teens. Yet, ʺyouth film,ʺ in the sense of a genre of films thataddressyoung people, is at best an emerging concept in postsocialist cultures. Similar to the way in which Hollywoodʹs teen representations have changed over the decades along with the political climate,¹ adolescents have served as indispensable representational devices for Hungarian, Slovak, or Polish filmmakers engaged in processing the ʺmoral panicsʺ of their respective times. During socialism, child and teen characters, most often portrayed in dysfunctional school and home settings, where...

    • CHAPTER 6 THE SOUND OF THE SOUTH BRONX: Youth Culture, Genre, and Performance in Charlie Ahearn’s Wild Style
      (pp. 87-106)

      While it is hard to imagine a moment when hip-hop was not predominant in both urban and suburban youth culture, there was a time when it could be termed subcultural. In fact, even before MTV latched on to it as the next big thing, one of the first vehicles for hip-hopʹs entry into the mainstream in the early ʹ80s was through the musical, in such films asWild Style(1982),Beat Street(1984), andKrush Groove(1985). Although these films are in fact musicals, film historians have rarely tackled the way in which they employ the tropes of the genre...


    • CHAPTER 7 OUT OF DEPTH: The Politics of Disaffected Youth and Contemporary Latin American Cinema
      (pp. 109-130)

      Over the past decade or so, there has been a proliferation of films from a variety of Latin American countries about disaffected youth, among themRodrigo D: No futuro(1990, Colombia),Johnny Cien Pesos(1993, Chile),Madagascar(1994, Cuba),Pizza birra faso(1997, Argentina),Amor vertical(1997, Cuba), andAmores perros(2000, Mexico). Although tales of youthful alienation have been a cinematic staple in many countries since the 1960s, many of these recent Latin American films depart from the older models by privileging the perspective of working-class and lower-middle-class subjects and, in so doing, harshly indict societies riddled by mundane...

    • CHAPTER 8 BIRDS THAT CANNOT FLY: Childhood and Youth in City of God
      (pp. 131-143)

      In the first sequence of the Brazilian movieCity of God(2002), withpagode¹ music in the background, we see slums and a group of people in a party mood getting ready to cook a few chickens. With vibrant images and rhythm, the audience is introduced to this situation from the perspective of one of the chickens that is waiting to be cooked. Held by the foot, the chicken watches as another chicken is killed and plucked. The visible anxiety of the animal is underlined by the fast editing and thepagoderhythm, which gets increasingly faster, reminding us of...

    • CHAPTER 9 PORTRAYING MUSLIM YOUTH IN EGYPT AND INDIA: “Worship None but Allah and Be Dutiful and Good to Parents”
      (pp. 144-156)

      Islam embraces many principles and ideas about childhood and Islamic/Muslim education, which differ according to historical time period and region (Barazanji, 406). All of these schools of thought aim at shaping childrenʹs characters in line with the Islamic worldview. Islamic families are entitled to educate their children in order to allow them to follow the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. Tradition encourages young people to ʺWorship none but Allah (alone) and be dutiful and good to parentsʺ (Sura 2, Verse 83). During recent years, the Quranic mandate of obedience to Allah and obedience to parents has brought...

    • CHAPTER 10 PROJECTING A BRIDGE FOR YOUTH: Islamic “Enlightenment” versus Westernization in Turkish Cinema
      (pp. 157-172)

      Popular Turkish cinema, known as Yeşilçam, peaked in the 1960s and 1970s in a complex context; it needed to respond not only to the hegemony of Hollywood but also to the complex realities of Turkish political and social life. Founded in 1923, the Republic of Turkey made a radical break with its formidable predecessor, the Ottoman Empire, by constructing a republican state based on Western models. An extensive program of reforms rooted in European models and French laicism changed the alphabet from Arabic to Latin script, westernized the calendar, and outlawed Islamic forms of dress, including the red hat known...


    • CHAPTER 11 NARRATING THE FEMININE NATION: The Coming-of-Age Girl in Contemporary New Zealand Cinema
      (pp. 175-188)

      Filmmaker Vincent Ward remarks, ʺChildhood is a common theme in New Zealand writing. Perhaps this is due to the relative newness of the national identity, and ʹrites of passageʹ stories reflect this coming of ageʺ (70). This essay explores the parameters of the girlʹs coming-of-age story in contemporary New Zealand film, beginning with an analysis of WardʹsVigil(1984) and then turning to Niki Caroʹs recentWhale Rider/Te kaieke tohora(2002). In both films, the landscape serves as a correlative to the emotional states of its adolescent inhabitants and is transformed through their capacity to re-envision it—and themselves—through...

    • CHAPTER 12 GENDER, RACE, FEMINISM, AND THE INTERNATIONAL GIRL HERO: The Unremarkable U.S. Popular Press Reception of Bend It Like Beckham and Whale Rider
      (pp. 189-206)

      The fact that U.S. popular culture pays attention to girls is certainly not a new phenomenon; nevertheless, I would argue that representations of girls have significantly intensified since the mid-1980s. For example, since as early as 1923, whenTimebegan publishing, girls appeared on the cover of that magazine once per year in most years; but, starting in 1986 they appeared several times nearly every year. In the 1990s, new television shows centering on girls includedClarissa Explains It All(1991–1994),The Secret World of Alex Mack(1994–1998), andThe Mystery Files of Shelby Woo(1996–1999). All...

      (pp. 207-221)

      Age grading is a widely distributed feature of human societies. The allocation of rewards and responsibilities, the designation of dependent groups, and the differentiation of rights and obligations on the basis of age is widespread among communities primitive and advanced, ancient and contemporary alike. Most typically, two broad categories are to be found, defined in mutual exclusion: childhood, a zone of technical incompetence and spiritual innocence; and adulthood, a zone of capacity, knowledge, moral duty, and ethical maturity. Between childhood and adulthood there is often imagined to lie a boundary of sorts, traversable in ways that can be ceremonially demarcated...

    • CHAPTER 14 BOYS WILL BE MEN: Teen Masculinities in Recent Spanish Cinema
      (pp. 222-238)

      Films about youth have been prominent in Spanish cinema of the last three decades. Data suggest that in the early 1990s youth went from media underrepresentation to overrepresentation and, according to Trenzado Romero, the ʺprofessionʺ most widely represented by male characters in the Spanish cinema of the 1990s was that of the ʺstudent,ʺ even if the narrative was completely unrelated to the world of education (99–100).¹ Young people between 15 and 29 years of age represent a quarter of the Spanish population and, judging by theRevista de estudios de juventud[Journal of Youth Studies], published quarterly by the Instituto...


    • CHAPTER 15 GIRLS LOOKING AT GIRLS LOOKING FOR GIRLS: The Visual Pleasures and Social Empowerment of Queer Teen Romance Flicks
      (pp. 241-255)

      Queer girls have come to represent some of the most transformative subjects within contemporary independent film, giving rise to new forms of youth cinema. The emergence of queer girl characters driving romantic narratives challenges normative ideals of heterosexual adolescent femininity while also opening up new ways of perceiving a desiring girl self-active within an intelligent process of becoming sexual. The emergence of diverse forms of visual storytelling that center on girls fantasizing about and pursuing other girls compels new interpretative practices. Unlike more oblique strategies of reading queerly against the grain of heteronormative cultural texts, intimate portrayals of girlsʹ amorous...

    • CHAPTER 16 YOUTH, SEXUALITY, AND THE NATION: Beautiful Thing and Show Me Love
      (pp. 256-270)

      Alexander Doty notes the possibility of queer spectatorship of mainstream texts in his identification of ʺqueer momentsʺ in texts.¹ In conjunction with this idea, it might be possible to conceive of queer texts that rely on mainstream constructions in relation to issues of queer, or more specifically queer youth, identities. As Dotyʹs argument suggests, many mainstream ʺstraightʺ texts remain open to possible ʺqueer readings,ʺ an aspect that, according to Doty, inheres in the text itself rather then being constructed by the audience. Within the parameters of this study, the construction of the filmic text, and particularly the ways in which...

    • CHAPTER 17 DIFFERENT FROM THE OTHER(S): German Youth and the Threat of Homosexual Seduction
      (pp. 271-286)

      In his autobiographical filmTaxi Zum Klo(Taxi to the Toilet, 1980), German actor/director Frank Ripploh offers a candid, personal account of his double life as a closeted gay schoolteacher with a passion for cruising the streets of West Berlin. Through his blend of absurd humor and the explicit, unapologetic depiction of his many anonymous sexual encounters, Ripploh critiques the values that ʺstraightʺ society imposes on both his public and private life.

      In one amusing and insightful sequence, Ripploh sits at his kitchen table tutoring one of his pupils, a young boy named Holger. Meanwhile, in the next room, Ripplohʹs...

    (pp. 287-305)
    (pp. 306-312)
    (pp. 313-330)
    (pp. 331-336)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 337-347)