Teen Spirit

Curator: Alexey Medvedev

The Kings of Summer  |  The Pee-Wee 3D: The Winter That Changed My Life
My Name Is Hmmm...  |  Hide Your Smiling Faces

If we had to describe these films with one word, that word would be change. These stories tell of metamorphoses of inner worlds and external circumstances: children struggle with the indifference of adults, the cruelty of their peers, unresolved issues in their families, and their own fear to face life that demands effort and intension. Many characters seem to be still on the verge of puberty, they are not yet teenagers, but they are nevertheless going through teenager problems. his indicates that in our world, children grow up faster than they used to.

The Kings of Summer
Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Producers: Tyler Davidson, John Hodges, Peter Saraf
Cast: Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, Moises Arias, Nick Offerman, Erin Moriarty
95 minutes

Joe Toy, on the verge of adolescence, finds himself increasingly frustrated by his single father, Franks attempts to manage his life. Declaring his freedom once and for all, he escapes to aclearing in the woods where he builds his own house and sets his own rules. Joes main rule is freedom: from parents, society, and civilization. Joe escapes together with his best friend Patrick who could also do with less parental care. A strange kid named Biaggio learns of their secret plan and joins them. The three Robinsons life is full of hardships: what should they do? how will they get food? Joy and rapport go down the drain when Joe decides to take one step further in his adult life and invites a girl to their home.

Teenager comedy The Kings of Summer is Jordan Vogt-Robertss first feature film. After its premiere, its stars Nick Robinson (Joe), Gabriel Basso (Patrick), and Moises Arias (Biaggio) were declared three of the most interesting American young actors. The film participated in Sundance-2013 and Cleveland International Film Festival, and won the Audience award at the International Film Festival in Dallas.

Still, Vogt-Roberts is not new to the business: before his debut, he had long worked as TV comedy director (Funny or Die etc.). Its not surprising that the angry dad is played by one of the best modern TV comedians Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation), whose career in feature films is just starting. Despite the dramatic turns and twists, the film has its share of funny moments the spiritual followers of Henry Thoreau, instead of hunting, boldly raid the local supermarket.

The Pee-Wee 3D: The Winter That Changed My Life
Director: Éric Tessier
Producer: Christian Larouche
Cast: Antoine-Olivier Pilon, Rémi Goulet, Alice Morel-Michaud
122 minutes

Janeau and his dad move to a small Canadian town. They decided to move because both of them are struggling with the death of Janeaus mother and cant bear to face any reminder of her. Janeau would give up hockey, but the girl next door, a goaltender for the local junior team, notices his talent. She arranges for him to be taken on the team. They train together, getting ready for their first serious competition. Their aim is the Québec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament. Janeau is strikingly skilled and accurate, and this, of course, excites envy. Janeau has to win not only his ice battles, but also psychological clashes with his peers and loved ones.

The Pee-Wee 3D is a sports film, and as in many sports films, the drama focuses not on the characters athletic achievements, but on their psychological problems: each has their own story and their own complex issues to resolve.

In 2013, the 14-year-old Alice Morel-Michaud was nominated for a Genie award as best supporting actres for her role in this film.

My Name Is Hmmm...
Director: Agnès B.
Producers: Christophe Audeguis, Agnès B.
Cast: Sylvie Testud, Jacques Bonnaffe, Lou-Lelia Demerliac
121 minutes

An 11 year old girl never lets go of her Barbie, as if the doll were her only protector and almost a weapon. She talks to it, shes candid with it, because her family and peers cant understand and help her. During a school trip, she runs away, goes to the seashore and climbs into a truck cabin. This escape could have ended tragically, but it was her salvation. The driver is also lonely in his own way. He understands her and becomes her friend; he doesnt demand candidness nor does he insist on her returning home. The road, long walks, simple conversations, the summer all this calms the girl down and makes her stronger so she can let go of the doll. By the end on this journey, she wont need protection anymore.

Agnès Troublé is the nickname designer and producer Agnès B. chose for her directorial debut. She decided that her first film would be a road movie. It smoothes the sore and complex topic of domestic violence. In this visually sophisticated and disquieting movie, one still feels the signature French lightness. The author remains an observer whose task is not to judge, but to find the best language to tell his story. The script was written 10 years ago; the plot and the topic are not conflict-free and the film, like memory, is replete with gaps, and entices with its sensual and vivid delivery, its fresh breath free from clichs and simple answers.

Hide Your Smiling Faces
Director: Daniel Carbone
Producers: Jordan Bailey-Hoover, Daniel Carbone, Matthew Petock
Cast: Ryan Jones, Nathan Varnson, Colm OLeary, Thomas Cruz, Christina Starbuck, Chris Kies
80 minutes

: Flies

Teenagers are playing in an old abandoned building, where walls and ceilings are collapsing. Images of decay and fall arouse their curiosity and trigger the desire to explore. But sometimes, its hard to face up to decay that is, when human life is at stake. Two brothers confront their friends death differently. One wants justice as he sees it he becomes cruel and aggressive; the other is cautious and silent he admits he doesnt know what to think and how to act. But both of them will make peace with the world where lives and death intertwine.

Daniel Carbone made his debut in full-length cinema acouple of years ago. He is successful both as a director and as a cameraman. Critics have called Hide Your Smiling Faces an atmospheric, visual, Terrence-Malickesque film. Full of natural dialogues and everyday life circumstances, this picture doesnt shun improvisation, and at the same time is incredibly poetic and mysterious: it reminds of Peter Weirs masterpiece Picnic at Hanging Rock. The filmmaker knows how clearly the elusive canvas of existence shows through cinematographic imagery, and hes ready to share this knowledge with his viewer. Adolescence is the age of undismissible myths and fears you can only capture and survive.

The film participated in the Generation program in Berlin-2013, was nominated for Sutherland Trophy (BFI London Film Festival 2013). It was also featured at film festivals in Chicago and Tribeca.


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