Teenage is a documentary that uses archive footage to
tell the story of the birth of youth and the creation
of the term, 'teenager'.
Jon Savage, the author of Teenage: The Creation of
Youth Culture (1875-1945) first published in 2007 to
critical acclaim co-wrote the film, which uses archive
footage from those years and looks upon the youth
movements of significant events. These include
the creation of the Boy Scouts and how the voice of
this disillusioned youth (voiced by Ben Whishaw) says
how the military exercise of the Scouts in the first
decade of the 20th century helped build the boys into
men ready for the Great War of 1914-18.
Other events are the creation of the Hitler Youth,
whom Der Führer believed was the future for which he
was doing so much and in Savage's eyes the Swing age
of the 1930s where it had its own language, fashion
and iconography. This was a forebearer for the
mods, punks and even cultural phenomenon like the
fandom of the Beatles and the Bay City Rollers.
Savage notes that all; 'Pop culture often starts with
frenzied youth' and in the baby boom period girls
found a way to extend the independence that was
garnered to them during the war years. Much is
made of females running factories and businesses
whilst the men were in Europe fighting, so this
freedom was extended to their children, especially the
And in this post-war world with the birth of the
teenager, a word that was not the public consciousness
until those years, you saw young adults/teenagers
having their own income, purchasing their own
goods. This is in stark contrast to the years of
working in a mill or coal mine for 13 hours a day with
blisters virtually as a slave.
Expertly edited and wonderfully curated by director
Matt Wolf, who lovingly renders Savage's vision from
the page to the screen upholding the notion that
'those who get the youth get the future'.
Teenage is out on Friday 24 January 2013 and is
released by Soda Pictures.