At one point in my life, and probably yours, I woke up every morning feeling one of two ways. I either hated everyone and everything, or I thought everyone and everything hated me. It didn't help that my body appeared to be morphing at an ungodly rate. And the hormones...RAGING. I had no clue how to deal with any of this craziness, yet somehow, I thought I knew everything. There was no way in hell you were going to tell me any different. Privately, though, I was worried...really worried...about my entire existence. I was one of the most miserable, happy, wonderful, terrible people on the planet. In other words, I was a teenager. That's who these movies are about. Teenagers who think, and occasionally really have, the world crashing down around them.
Mi Vida Loca
(1993)We chronicle Mousie (Seidy Lopez) and Sad Girl (Angel Aviles), a couple of female gang-bangers in the Echo Park section of Los Angeles who are also best friends. Things change when Sad Girl gets pregnant by Mousie's boyfriend. The girls become rivals and, well, the situation escalates. The film owes it's existence to the success of Boyz N the Hood and is one of many "hood movies" to be released throughout the rest of the 90s. Unfortunately, it's been largely overlooked despite being one of the better ones.
The Wooden Camera
(2003)Lots of teens just want to feel powerful. The difference in the outcomes of our lives is often determined by what we do achieve this. Here is a film from South Africa that demonstrates this in poignant fashion. We follow another pair of best friends, Madiba (Junior Singo) and Sipho (Innocent Msimango). While just hanging out and goofing off, they find a camera and a gun. Madiba takes the camera, Sipho, the gun. These items then dictate the path of their lives.
(2011)Imagine being a regular teen, dealing with all of the things teens deal with, some of it going not so well, when a civil war seems to spontaneously explode all around. Imagine it being so bad neighbors are literally taking up arms and hunting you down. That's the situation in this film, set against the backdrop of the Rwandan genocide of 1994. It tells three intertwining stories, two of them concerning adults. The bulk of the film, and certainly it's heart, is concerned with a teenager named Jean (Hadidja Zaninka), a half-Tutsi girl who has spent the day hanging out at her friend's house and returns home like lots of us have, a little after curfew. Unfortunately, it's a little too quiet which makes her suspicious. That's when she finds out the rest of her family has been slaughtered. Now, she must try to get somewhere safe and that's no easy task. (My full review)