Despite teenagers’ growing role in social change, teen movies of the 1960s were surprisingly anodyne, consisting mostly of rock ‘n’ roll musicals designed to exploit their newfound spending power. In the 1970s, George Lucas revisited this era with American Graffiti (1973), just as Richard Linklater would create the definitive picture of 1970s teens viewed through the nostalgic melancholy of the 1990s in Dazed and Confused.
Loosely structured, the film follows a cross-section of high school students in suburban Texas on the last day of term in 1976, creating a snapshot portrayal of the trials and tribulations of all stages within the age group. Featuring an early appearance from Matthew McConaughey in what remains for many his defining performance, this is a warm and witty film that retains a universal resonance for viewers.
Screening as part of Teenage Kicks: American Teens on Film (August 4th – 28th).