Run at the end of the tunnel – Weekend

Run at the end of the tunnel – Weekend

Lovely, stupid, furious, cruel, self-confident, confused, angry, romantic, running away from their parents, desperate: who are all these young people on the screen and is it possible to talk about the boom of teenage cinema in Russia?

Text: Xenia Rozhdestvenskaya

François Truffaut, the author of The 400 Blows, one of the most important films about growing up and freedom, compared his character Antoine Doinel to a wolf cub and said that making films about wild animals is easier than about tamed animals.

Adolescence is just the time when wolf cubs get used to the cage. And the very time when domestic puppies run wild and huddle in packs. Each time has its own zoo.

In Russian cinematography in recent years, teenagers are more like puppies than wolf cubs, and in the best teenage films, the characters are trying to figure out how not to run wild. New stars - Mark Eidelstein ("Country Sasha"), Polina Gukhman ("Masha"), Makar Khlebnikov ("My Mom's Penguins") - look from the screen as if everything will be fine, the world is arranged fairly, and the pioneer is for all the guys example.

The emergence of teenage cinema is usually attributed to the American 1950s - the post-war period; in Europe, films dedicated to growing up, the age of transition from the harsh world of childhood to the cruel adult world, began to be shot a little later. This direction in cinema is divided into a dozen genres and subgenres - teenage horror (“The Blair Witch Project”, “Scream”) shows the horror of a person who is already in constant horror of growing up, comedies (“The Breakfast Club”) laugh at those who For those who don't feel like laughing, indie dramas (The Virgin Suicides, The Squid and the Whale) watch their characters grow up—tragically, routinely, against their own will. When times get quieter, teen movies turn to horror films, when things get tougher, to action films, when things get more hopeless, to comedies. Once upon a time, cinema treated teenagers as rebels for no reason, then as victims of the system or their own delusions, today teenagers are more like “new adults”, the main characters of films and TV shows (the American “Euphoria”, which collided all variants of teenage anxieties and problems, or Britain's End of the Fucking World, a killer style coming-of-age comic). The thing is that the "old adults" today do not really cope with a big story.

It happens all over the world: "old adults" are too arrogant, "ex-children" are too fixated on themselves, history is too clumsy. Transitional age is a time when children need to fit into the adult system so that it continues to roll, or at least look at this system from the outside - and be horrified. And don't accept it.

In the Soviet / Russian cinema, the lovers from Fraz's You Never Dreamed, the heroes of Asanova, the heroine of Bykov's Scarecrow, Shakhnazar's Courier did this. In the new century (“School”, “Everyone will die, but I will stay”, “Correction class”), not so much the social system has changed, not so much the adult world built on falsehood, but also the ways of interacting with this world. Yes, adulthood is a routine, violence and impotence, but it is not necessary to integrate into this system, it can be hacked.

And this is what, for example, the heroes of the documentary film "Katya and Vasya Go to School" by Yulia Vishnevetskaya are doing - young teachers who in a provincial school are trying to raise children not "as expected", trying to instill in them the habit of thinking - but, in essence, they themselves behave like teenagers who are unable to overcome "the right way."

So do the (co-)authors of Angie Vincito's "Manifesto", a documentary made without much inspiration from videos that teenagers posted online, from the most innocuous ones like "I brush my teeth" (34 views) to tragic recordings that have racked up hundreds of thousands of views. . The film is much smaller than its individual episodes, but at least it shows the direction of movement correctly: the network is another way of interacting with the system of the adult world, at the same time self-presentation and accusation, evidence and an act of retribution. Or at least a way to make money, as in the Happy End series.

But there are other, more traditional ways to hack the system: you can pretend to be someone else, as the heroine of Sasha by Vladimir Beck does - she cuts her hair and responds when she is considered a boy. By the way, Anna Patokina, the lead actress, mentioned in an interview that when she went with her hair cut, they addressed her as “you”: because you need to be with a teenager on “you”, you don’t need to respect him.

The heroes of the film "The Sea is Worried Once" Khomeriki escape into the wilderness from their own dreams - however, only to meet themselves there. The hero of "My Mom's Penguins" Meshchaninova, in order not to delve into domestic problems, decides to do stand-up.

But even if you choose a direct confrontation with the adult world, still in today's cinema it looks not like a riot, but entertainment: the heroes of Hunt's "Off-Season" willingly turn into Bonnie and Clyde, run to arrange their little revolution, but their run, the caricature images of the adult world, graffiti on dilapidated walls interests the director much more than real teenagers and their real dramas.

Hunt's "Off-Season" is based on real events - two Pskov teenagers, Katya and Denis, committed suicide (or died in a shootout with police) in 2016. Hunt admitted that he was not filming the story of specific teenagers, but the story of the "teenage period" and his picture - "about when a child becomes an independent person and tries to defend the right to be her." The story of Katya and Denis is also included in the Manifesto - and here the anonymous director is also trying to say something about time, without understanding people.

Hunt's film also contains documentary footage: at the very beginning, young people who sent their interviews to the casting say something to the camera. “Just go outside, who are all these people, what are they doing at all, why is no one dancing?” one of the teenagers suddenly asks.

Today's films are about "tender age" on the Russian screen - as in all times, about how not to turn into your own "non-dancing" fathers and mothers. Fathers in the new teen movies cause, if not disgust, then stupidity. At best, they don't. At worst, there are rapist stepfathers (“One Little Night Secret”), security officials (“Sasha”, “Off-season”), bandits (“Masha”). Everything is difficult with mothers too: hyperprotection (“Off-season”) or ostrich tactics (“Alice can’t wait”, “One little night secret”) - all lead to the fact that children do not perceive the older generation and do not believe it. No fatherland, no motherland.

The heroine of "Nobody's" Lena Lansky's mother forbids smiling ("somehow indecent"). The mother from the series "Alice Can't Wait" pretends that her blind daughter is not so bad in health, so the heroine has to "grow up desperately" on her own. The world of adults behaves as usual: does not notice, forbids, rapes, absorbs.

But the most revealing film about the “tender age” is Yulia Trofimova’s quiet romantic dramedy Country of Sasha, where conflicts are smoothed out, like the age difference between the main character and his mother. There is no rage, no despair, no violence, no generational gap. There is only summer, the sea, the teenager and his eternal: leave me alone. Don't stop growing up.

Here, the "old adults" are not so old, and the "ex-children" remain children. The only thing they have to contend with is a clumsy story. But the heroes of the best new teen movies with history seem to get along somehow. They are no, not strong, but awesome.

A teenager of the twenties is an example for all the guys. Youth is fire, and youth burns us. We never dream, nothing scares us.

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