Kidulthood (UK, 2006) and Beat Girl (UK, 1959)

Kids today eh!

Kids then eh!

Kidulthood is shocking, only if you believe it’s typical of kids in London. Well, I wouldn’t know, but the idea that youngsters are out of control is not exactly new. However, this is a terrific film that does the ‘day in the life’ of the youth of today with pace and style – I particularly like the split screen music montages. Noel Clarke – actor and scriptwriter (who’s also directed the just-out sequel) is certainly an interesting talent.

Of course the rebellion of the Beat Girl is far tamer than that of Kidulthood kids; but it is relative. Beat Girl was cut to get an X (18) certificate and, as far as I can tell, it was the cut version that got a 12 in 1998. The most obviously ‘cuttable’ sequence is an extraordinarily libidinous stripper’s dance – it would be interesting to know what got cut for that to stay in. It’s likely that teen pics date more quickly than other genres, but at least here the teens to get a voice; there are poignant monologues about being brought up during World War II. However, as is standard, the rebellion of the beat girl is recouped at the end.

In Kidulthood, the rebellion is a lifestyle; except it’s not rebelling against anything. A girl swaps sex for money to buy fashionable clothes. The ending doesn’t offer a comfortable resolution but
Alisa does decide to have her baby. That’s what’s called ‘growing up’ and teen pics are always about growing up to become adults.

Battle in Heaven (Mexico, 2005)

A scandal at Cannes; was it because of the hardcore sex (getting passe in arthouse cinema?) or the fact that 2/3rds of the participants are grossly overweight and old. Well whatever it was didn’t work for me and the knowledge that the cast were amateurs cast a moral question over the film. Exploited? Maybe. (DVD)

9 Songs (UK, 2005)

The sex, and there’s a lot of it, is real in this film and that seems to be all some can say about it. Ignore the debate about whether it’s porn or art (it could be both) and you’ll find (should you be comfortable watching explicit representations of sex) an extremely good film about a young couple for whom sex and music (and maybe food) are all that matter. The metaphor of the Antartica as including all life is great. Brave filmmaking. (DVD)