Contemporary british cinema and the representation of youth
Contemporary British Cinema and the Representation of Youth<br />
Watch the opening sequence of ‘Harry Brown’. How does it represent young people?<br />
Read the article about the representation of hoodies in contemporary British films and make notes on the key points.<br />You should consider:<br /><ul><li>How it suggests young people are represented
The implications of the representations </li></ul>Link to article<br />
Eden Lake<br />Eden Lake Trailer<br />Watch the opening 15 minutes of ‘Eden Lake’. How are Jenny and Steve (the main couple) represented? How is this contrasted with the representation of the other characters? How important is the issue of social class? How are young people represented?<br />
Horror and the Representation of Youth<br />Film theorist Robin Wood argues that the basic formula of the horror film is ‘normality is threatened by the monster. I use “normality” here…to mean simply “conformity to the dominant social norms”’.<br />What is the significance of the emergence of a cycle of British films in which the ‘monster’ is young people?<br />How do they threaten normality?<br />What term could we use instead of normality?<br />What other theorists may be relevant to this discussion of the relationship between young people and ‘conformity to the dominant social norms’?<br />
‘Attack the Block’ – Youth, Stereotypes, Social Class<br />Watch the opening sequence of ‘Attack the Block’ – how are the main characters introduced? How does this representation change?<br />
‘Attack the Block’ – Youth, Stereotypes, Social Class<br /><ul><li>Opening sequence stereotypical hoodie representation.
As the film progresses the representation becomes more positive. Develops a more sympathetic representation.
The film initially represents the young people as ‘monsters’, then replaces them with actual monsters.
Contrast to other ‘hoodie horror films’.</li></li></ul><li>‘Attack the Block’ – Youth, Stereotypes, Social Class<br />‘While Attack the Block has moments of hilarity, and evokes the loneliness of ET – the fantasy, the bizarre things happening in residential streets – this is definitely a horror film. A political horror film, far less silly than fans may expect. There are monsters, aliens of the sort we haven't seen in the cinema for a long time.<br />"They're all the things that the press and people call those kids, made into a monster. People call these kids monsters, they call them feral, they call them animalistic, they say they've got no morals or values and all they care about is territory and competitiveness. So what if there was a creature that really was like that, and then you pitted the kids against it?“’<br />The Observer, interview with director Joe Cornish<br />
‘Eden Lake’ – middle class adult main characters, antagonists are teenage hoodies (monsters) who torture and kill the main characters. Reflects middle class fear of working youth and their perceived threat to hegemony. <br />‘Harry Brown’ – middle class, adult hero. Teenager hoodies are antagonists. Hero hunts/kills antagonists. Middle class revenge fantasy in which threatening working class youth are punished.<br />‘Attack the Block’ – film initially opens with middle class protagonist, teenage hoodie ‘monsters’. These characters then become heroes. Film is an attempt to resolve tensions between middle class and working class youth.<br />
Entertainment and Utopia, Richard Dyer<br />Film theorist Richard Dyer argues that one of the functions of entertainment is utopianism. ‘Entertainment offers the image of “something better”…the sense that things could be better…Entertainment does not present models of utopian worlds…Rather the utopianism is contained in the feelings it embodies.’<br />
Utopian Categories of Entertainment<br />Energy<br />Abundance<br />Intensity<br />Transparency<br />Community<br />Dyer argues these categories reflect ‘temporary answers to the inadequacies of the society’. <br />
Watch the ending of ‘Attack the Block’. How can you relate Dyer’s theory of entertainment and utopia?<br />
Choose one of the three films to research. Try to find reviews which reflect different perspectives, e.g. from conservative newspapers like the Daily Mail, or the Telegraph, and liberal newspapers like The Guardian, and The Independent.<br />
Applying Theory<br />Gramsci, hegemony<br />Giroux, empty category<br />Hebdige, style/resistance to hegemony<br />Acland, reinforcing hegemony/ideology of protection<br />Cohen, moral panic<br />
Essay Question<br />How are young people represented in contemporary media?<br />Introduction:<br />State argument (link to theory)<br />Identify texts<br />
How are young people represented in contemporary media?<br />Newspapers<br />‘Hoodies and Altar Boys’ study<br />Cultivation theory<br />Television<br />‘Young, Dumb, and Living with Mum’ (Giroux, Acland)<br />‘Misfits’ (issue of social class)<br />
How are young people represented in contemporary media?<br />Film<br />Hoodie cinema (‘Eden Lake’, ‘Harry Brown’) ideological significance<br />‘Attack the Block’ – more positive (utopian)<br />Conclusion<br />What is the significance of these representations?<br />What is your opinion?<br />