Teenage – DVD review

Matt Wolf, 2013


This heartwarming 78-minute collage of archive film starts in 1904, with flickering footage of sooty-faced waifs working in factories, denied a childhood let alone teenage kicks. It wasn’t until 1945, when The New York Times published the Teenage Bill of Rights, that a new generation was officially recognised and granted “the right to question ideas” and “the right to have rules explained not imposed”.

Exuberant and touching, Matt Wolf’s film shows how teens have always reacted against the mess left by their parents (the industrial revolution, the first world war, the Wall Street Crash), transforming rebellion and curiosity into new styles and movements from flappers and jitterbuggers to... the Scouts. Focusing on the US, Britain and Germany, we see both the strength and susceptibility of these young adults, determined to make their mark and have fun at all costs.

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