Teenage

  • Film
  • Documentaries
0 Love It

Before teenagers were invented, you were a child and then an adult. This cool, dreamy doc, based on a book by Jon Savage, pieces together a scrapbook of dazzling footage from the late-1800s to 1945. In his lovely, urchin-y voice Ben Whishaw reads from British teenagers’ diaries, beginning with a boy who became a man overnight aged 12 when sent to work in a steel factory. World War I changed everything. In Germany, boys of 13 and 14 lied about their age to enlist in the army. ‘The old had sent us to die and we hated them,’ reads a German actor as we watch footage of boys with shell shock twitching compulsively.

The generation gap was born out of disillusionment. Swing kids, early-twentieth-century hooligans, Hitler Youth, Bobby Soxers, this is a whistle stop tour that leaves you wanting more. I could have watched an entire doc about the Bright Young Things who scandalised 1920s London with their boozy hijinks. Or Munich’s rebellious swing kids, sent to political prisons by the Nazis for dancing to Duke Ellington. Throughout the documentary are gorgeous images of teens with goofy, full-of-hope smiles that make your heart ache. 

Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday January 24 2014
Duration: 78 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Matt Wolf
Screenwriter: Matt Wolf, Jon Savage
Cast: Alden Ehrenreich

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|2
1 person listening
Paul Murphy

This outstanding film is not only my favourite cdoc but favourite film if the LFF so far. The book was great but Matt Wolf has made it whoosh like a rocket powered by teen spirit, launching it into the stratosphere with an imnnovative combination of music, archive and added sound and staged scenes to fit. We are taken on a journey from Victorian days when you were made a working 'adult' at 12, to the German Wandervogel ('wandering birds - teenagers who went off into nature), bright young things, Flaming Youth, flappers, the cynical exploitation by Hitler and opposition by Swing Kids, to the creation of the term 'teenage' in 1945/6. Wolf and Savage show a life period when setting yourself to rights in the difficult transition to adulthood transfers to social rebellion. Builds on Adam Curtis' work and takes it in its own direction. Not to be missed!

Paul Murphy

This outstanding film is not only my favourite cdoc but favourite film if the LFF so far. The book was great but Matt Wolf has made it whoosh like a rocket powered by teen spirit, launching it into the stratosphere with an imnnovative combination of music, archive and added sound and staged scenes to fit. We are taken on a journey from Victorian days when you were made a working 'adult' at 12, to the German Wandervogel ('wandering birds - teenagers who went off into nature), bright young things, Flaming Youth, flappers, the cynical exploitation by Hitler and opposition by Swing Kids, to the creation of the term 'teenage' in 1945/6. Wolf and Savage show a life period when setting yourself to rights in the difficult transition to adulthood transfers to social rebellion. Builds on Adam Curtis' work and takes it in its own direction. Not to be missed!