If you struggle to imagine teenage life before tweets, status updates and Instagram, this restored vintage doc is a real journey through the past. In 1984, director Keva Rosenfeld set out to find out whether the reality of American high school life matched the movie version immortalised in ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’. Embedding a camera crew in Southern California’s Torrance High, he discovered an energetic whirl of beer chugging, terrifying fashion choices, arcade gaming, cheerleading, more beer chugging, and the very occasional class.
Observing it all is Finnish exchange student Riki, who’s spot-on in her comments that it’s all about preparing young people for socialising rather than academia, pointedly noting her classmates’ political conservatism and startling lack of curiosity about the wider world. The hour-long original cut (which screened on US TV) has now been edited with a 20-minute fun ‘where are they now?’ section, tracking down the key participants – Riki’s now a wife and mum in Finland. This is a hugely entertaining, indispensable celluloid time-capsule.