An Exploration of the Representation of Teenagers in Two British Films, Films Are History Boys and Kidulthood

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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”. 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...
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