London: BFI Teenage Kicks Season Kicks Off, 1 – 31 August 2014

I have been an employed adult for longer than I care to think about and yet I still get that “school’s out for summer” feeling every year. Swiftly followed by the crushing realisation that “no it’s not but “hurrah I can now get a seat on public transport.

This August, the BFI is celebrating the highs and lows of the teen on screen with Teenage Kicks. The month-long season includes screenings of a wide range of films depicting the adolescent experience, as well as specially curated free events. Perfect chance to get back in touch with your inner teen I say (and be grateful those days are long behind!).


Beyond Clueless (2014)
Beyond Clueless (2014)

The programme includes the London premiere of Beyond Clueless, a new film by writer director Charlie Lyne.  He has painstakingly pieced together hundreds of scenes from American teen movies to create a movie essay exploring the alternative universe of the High School teen. Casting a spotlight on recurring themes and archetypes – Jocks, Geeks and Prom Queens – that are embedded in our psyche even if you’ve never set foot in the USA. Life lessons are learnt and not forgetting all the longing and lust.

The narration by Fairuza Balk and original soundtrack by English band Summer Camp are integral to weaving the scenes together making Beyond Clueless appear almost seamless, rather than a collection of clips.

Something I didn’t notice at the time, probably because it was the norm, is how lily white the cast of Nineties and Nougties teen movies were. Also how old everyone was with zero acne.

Wikipedia tells me Charlie Lyne was born in 1991. The films included in Beyond Clueless were made between 1995 – 2005. That era of teen film has been endlessly parodied so I wonder how his experience watching retrospectively differed from those of us who watched the films when they were first released. I’m also amazed he’s not sick of them after watching three hundred in a three month period.

The London premiere of Beyond Clueless, with a live score by Summer camp will be taking place at BFI Southbank on 8 August 2014.



Blackboard Jungle (1955) starring Sidney Poitier, is up there with Rebel Without A Cause, as a seminal teen movie. It featured Bill Haley’s Rock Around the Clock over the opening credits, the first time rock and roll had been used in a movie.  When the film was first released, many theatres cut the song as rock and roll was considered a corrupting influence and rioting broke out at screenings. One psychiatrist apparently said that violence incited by rock ‘n’ roll was a “communicable disease” spread by a “cannibalistic and tribalistic sort of music.”

Classic and cult films that will be screened as part of the season include Blackboard Jungle (1955) ; If…(1968), Carrie (1976);  Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982); Heathers (1988); Kids (1996).

Alongside the screenings will be a programme of talks and events including The Global Teen looking at teens in non-US cinema and Teen Scene Filmmaking Challenge, encouraging young filmmakers to submit  scripts for the chance to make on a specially built film set at BFI Southbank. Riots Revisted, on 15 August, will mark the third anniversary of the UK riots with a discussion on the role of the media during and after the events and how film has been used to depict the riots.

How much has changed since the term “teenager” was coined by marketing bods in the 1950s?

For bookings and further information on Teenage Kicks visit:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: