An Exploration of the Representation of Teenagers in Two British Films, Films Are History Boys and Kidulthood
The representation of teenagers can be very contrasting at times teenagers can be represented as a problem within society however they can be represented as the hope for society in terms of education. The representation of teenagers has changed throughout the 20th century, since the films of Elvis Presley and the Beatles in the 50’s and 60’s (15). The two films I chose are set in the 1980’s (History Boys) and modern day London (Kidulthood). History Boys is a based around Sheffield grammar school and Kidulthood is based in London, both released in 2006.
Kidulthood is an example of rights of passage in teenagers, because its tagline is “Before Adulthood Comes Kidulthood”, meaning that there is some form of right of passage before you are a adult. One of the first representations of teenagers that is apparent within either films is the use of language within Kidulthood uses language such as “bruv”, “blud”, “mandem” “chatting”, “pussyhole”.
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When there is a dialogue with older characters such as Jay and Trife’s Mum an air of politeness towards the adult is emphasised and when it is between teenage character they speak in use of language.
Whereas History boys the teenagers are very polite. They are represented in a negative manner within the film due to their language and speech towards others. In my film I want to show characters in a polite manner, because of History Boys’s aspects. The representation in both films of teenagers within a context of a school is quite contrasting. In History Boys the main emphasis for the teenagers in this setting is based upon and you are judged on the university you go too evident through their struggle to get places at Oxbridge. They strive for perfection with results.
In terms of the playground setting everyone is equal, the younger years walk side by side with the higher years, and the higher years are very friendly with the teachers, therefore showing that teenagers are responsible and are shown in a positive attitude. Whereas, Kidulthood is a complete binary opposition to History Boy’s in terms of a school setting, the playground is dominated by elder years, and the only way you see younger years is that they run through the mise-en-scene because bullies such as Sam and others own the playground and others are continuously victimised within this setting.
A key scene is when the bell rings and a teacher is instructing the students. Trife just squares up to him, therefore showing school has a lack of hierarchy and respect. This influences my campaign material, because I could use school as a negative experience with a character turning it positively with what they achieve. When you first watch the film there is suggestions that in “Kidulthood’s Britain, our teenagers are reckless hedonists, living for their moment under a whirl of as much sex, coke, blowjobs, weed and booze as they can cram into their “Oh my days! lives. They’re having a laugh. However, look behind the blurred sheen of peer-pressure narcotics and I-fell-asleep-during-sex-ed relationships and you’ll find guns, baseball bats, muggings, booze and teen pregnancy. For these adolescents, you need to have a tragic experience to learn about the very notion of ‘consequence’. This therefore suggests that Kidulthood is a sweeping generalisation of life in London, I want to reflect the positivity within London and turn all these issues into a positive manner for my character, that it is your thinking not the consequences. 3) A representations that most teenagers face in modern day Britain portrayed within Kidulthood, was that Jay, Trife and Moony went into a shop and they looked at hats and they were immediately judged on their appearance, shown by the secretary guard of the shop subtly watching them. They leave the shop, and the secretary guard chases them, because he thinks that Trife’s hat is stolen, but it eventually becomes the realisation due to a shop assistant sticking up for them, that he was already wearing it when entering the shop.
This is a hugely key representation of teenagers, because sometimes teenagers are stereotyped and put into a group that is an unfair reflection on them as individuals, because of what the majority of adults understand from the media stereotypes and news stories. This would be included in my marketing campaign as a teenager’s right of passage who shrugs off negative stereotypes, and therefore earning a right of passage, because of the school they go to, they are immediately put into the crowd and they have to turn ideas about teens around.
Comparatively, the representation of teenagers in History Boys consists of the idea that exams are the main priority in life, and going to a good university is the done thing due to having a class full of Oxbridge candidates and getting straights A’s in A levels and if you don’t you have failed, because the pupil who earned 1 A and 2 B’s was extremely disappointed with this. This representation of teenagers is that they are very one dimensional in terms of education and all they want is to enter the Uk’s conveyer belt to university and eventually employment.
This would link in with my campaign material because this is my characters priority and contending with distractions from the society they are based and they are able to take oppurtunities given to them. (4) One of the hugely key representations of teenagers within Kidulthood, is that gun and knife crime are a normal way of life, and that sex is just a way of getting what you want, or as a tool as to what you want, such as the example of Becky’s sexual pursuits for drugs which is includes dragging Alicia along.
She is also represented as being very vain, because when Alicia sticks up to the school bully all she is really worried about is the fact that her face might scarred, and she seems to be very selfish and doesn’t think of others at all. Therefore one of the many representations of teenagers is that sometimes they can be very vain, moody and selfish. My campaign material will show that teenagers can be selfless and not selfish. 2) Equally the lyrics of the songs incorporated within Kidulthood reflect the problems faced by, and in various stages within the film, such as the character Katie listening to lyrics that are reflecting her problems and issues from her perspective. The same goes for Trife, Moony and all the other characters in the film. The representation of teenagers is therefore that, they listen to lyrics which reflect and their life and therefore can feel empathy with. According to a article I found “Music is the voice of the youth and adds to the theme of the film (teenagers). The music helps to bring home the message of the ‘youth’.
Music plays almost throughout the film, intensifying and giving. ”(2) This is a suggestion the music can create meaning within a film. The music as part of my campaign material will reflect the style of the film. One of the main differences between the two films in terms of the representation of teenagers within both these films is that the usual representation from each director, because Menhaj Huda (Kidulthood) has directed films depicting teenage life, because he directed a drama called West 10 LDN, which is a drama depicting a teenager going through my trials and tribulations within their daily lives.
He also revolutionised the industry for new directors in the late 90’s. Equally the distribution company of Kidulthood being revolver entertainment, this also depicts violence and sex as being part of every day lives. The films they distribute show that the emphasis of their films, because they are called “Young people Fucking”- about couples in romantic relationships and “Wassup Rockers”- which is about Guatemalan and El Salvadorian street gangs in Los Angeles, this shows the daily dog eat dog lives they lead.
Noel Clarke also co wrote Kidulthood and he directed the sequel to it, so therefore these individuals understand the problems faced by teenagers today. Whereas the director and distribution company of History Boys has a completely different aspects life, because Nicholas Hynter two films that have been showing teenagers as hardworking and in a positive light. This is most explicit with examples such as Center Stage, which is about dancers enrolling in a professional ballet academy, and how they deal with these.
Along with History Boys Hynter portrays teenagers to be much more than violent, sex obsessed youths. Even with the distribution company of Fox search light productions who’s repertoire includes distributing such film successes with it being used for indie films and British films such as Slumdog Millionaire, Bend it like Beckham and Juno. Some films such as thirteen and Napoleon Dynamite which portray teenagers in less positive aspects of teenage life. Therefore one of the main ways in which representation of teenagers are different is because of what sort of audience they would appeal to.
I feel a positive representation should be applied, because the media today represents teenagers with such negativity. (6, 7, 8, 9,10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20) A review on Kidulthood states that “In Kidulthood’s Britain, our teenagers are reckless hedonists, living for their moment under a whirl of as much sex, coke, blowjobs, weed and booze as they can cram into their “Oh my days! ” lives. They’re having a laugh. However, look behind the blurred sheen of peer-pressure narcotics and I-fell-asleep-during-sex-ed relationships and you’ll find guns, baseball bats, muggings, booze and teen pregnancy.
For these adolescents, you need to have a tragic experience to learn about the very notion of ‘consequence’. ”- This part of the review suggests that teenagers that live in London are shown to be quite pressured by peers, and has differed from previous films such as History boys. In my campaign material I want to challenge these stereotypes, through the ideas I bring across. (3) For any teenager, puberty makes a teenager’s mind quite confused in terms of sexuality and other issues. In History Boys, the idea of sexual confusion and homosexuality is represented as being quite prominent.
This is shown by one of the Oxbridge applicants asking for advice from the new teacher called Irwin, and that homosexuality is becoming a confusing issue within teenage life in the 80’s. Dakin one of the students is extremely confident with his sexuality and life in general, because of his status within the group, because he is the object of the confusion. Therefore a representation of teenagers within History boys is about the many issues to do with sexuality such as homosexuality and other sexual issues within the context of puberty.
I want to portray this as a problem for my character to deal with along with exams. (21) Conclusively, the representation of teenagers within the two British films Kidulthood and History Boys differ completely in terms of different representations of teenagers being depicted by their class, and therefore depending on their class how their life is lead and what issues arise as seen in these two films. I shall therefore challenge this problem. Bibliography 1. Kidulthood film and History boys film- Focus Films 2. www. academicdb. com/Mass_Communications_and_Documentation/… kidadulthoo d_review___How_are_teenagers_L137186. html – To understand what other students were discussing in terms of representation 3. http://www. totalfilm. com/reviews/cinema/kidulthood – understand what a prestigious film magazine thought about the film. 4. http://www. bbc. co. uk/films/2006/10/04/the_history_boys_2006_review. shtmlunderstand the context of the exams within the film. 5. http://www. channel4. com/film/reviews/film. jsp? id=156095 – To understand what a rival would say about the film but it was just for my own help rather than the essay. All the below were all to get a context for the film in terms of director and distribution companies in terms of representation of teenagers for both sides. 6. http://www. britfilms. com/britishfilms/directors/? id=C3BC981002c2a25B4CrRt2DF 93DE 7. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Menhaj_Huda 8. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Nicholas_Hytner 9. http://www. imdb. com/name/nm0405336/ 10. http://www. guardian. co. uk/stage/2003/mar/30/theatre. artsfeatures 11. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/West_10_LDN 12. http://www. imdb. com/name/nm0399630/ 13. http://www. myspace. com/13608234 14. http://en. ikipedia. org/wiki/Noel_Clarke 15. http://www. antiessays. com/free-essays/15181. html – comparison of era of teen films. * 16. http://www. imdb. com/name/nm0164929/ 17. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/The_History_Boys_(film) 18. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Fox_Searchlight_Pictures 19. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Kidulthood 20. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Revolver_Entertainment 21. http://www. oppapers. com/essays/History-Boys-Consider-Significance- Characterisation-Either/179335 – To understand the representation of sexuality for the teenagers within the film. 1,858 words