Sunday, 18 January 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 31: Sat Jan 31

Beyond Clueless (Lyne, 2014): Rio Cinema, 2pm

This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Charlie Lyne.

Rio Cinema introduction:
A crowdfunded delight which reads between the lines of some 270 American teen movies made from the mid 1990s to the early 2000s. It's a wittily edited non-stop stream of clips from countless depictions of teenage life - the jocks, the geeks, the skaters, the mean girls and the masturbators - through high school and beyond. It offers a vibrant, funny, subversive analysis and a compelling case that there is a very dark and poisonous heart to these candy-coloured teenage confections. The hypnotic narration is spoken by cult teen movie actress Fairuza Balk and the superb and the superbly sinister original soundtrack is by British indie band Summer Camp.

Guardian review:
Maybe there is nothing beyond Clueless: maybe Amy Heckerling’s 1995 high-school homage to Jane Austen is the ultimate teenage film. It could be a fault in this hypnotic, narcotic and dreamlike cine-essay about the contemporary American teen movie phenomenon that it does not distinguish between good teen movies and bad ones, and doesn’t question all that closely the genre’s white heterosexual world. But 24-year-old critic and film-maker Charlie Lyne has cleverly – actually, no, make that brilliantly – exploited the “fair use” rule in US copyright law, which allows you to quote short movie clips without payment in non-fiction features, and used that to create a continuous cinephile collage of teen movie fragments, a sort of “Histoire(s) Du Cinema D’Ado”: the result is something so weirdly consistent in style, casting and production values that it looks like one epic, evolving production in an airless eternal present.

Fairuza Balk (from satirical teen movie The Craft) narrates, in a kind of incantatory prose-poem, chorically pointing out the conventions. This is a genre in which twentysomething actors pass for teens, written by thirtysomethings who never forgot their teen angst. The teen movie is not history written by the winners, but rewritten by the losers, or perhaps it is truer to say – by the writers. 

One of the extraordinary things about Beyond Clueless is the reminder of all today’s A-list actors who started out as eerily, almost waxily young stars in teen films. Some are dead. Some are hugely famous. There is pathos in seeing, with a start of recognition and realisation, that some never made it: the dream of fame was not realised for them, and that the whole thing looks like a dream anyway. I am disappointed that Charlie Lyne did not use the opening credits from Get Over It (2001): one of the great tracking shots of modern times.
Peter Bradshaw

Here (and above) is the trailer.

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