The Young and Furious in Ljubljana

in 24th Ljubljana International Film Festival

by Alberto Castellano

One of the most interesting sections of the 24th Ljubljana International Film Festival (6 – 17 November 2013) was the retrospective “Young and Furious”, co-ordinated by the festival’s director Simon Popek. The theme of disobedience and rebellion against any kind of authority found expression in many films from all over the world. Directors have often treated this subject through investigating the aspects of sexuality, violence or drugs through all kinds of genres and sub-genres. The 11 titles of the retrospective were chosen taking into account geographic, aesthetic and ‘genre’ diversity and the difference between the rebellion of the American young people of the ’50s (the explosion of rock’n’roll) and the young people of the European cinema of the ’60s (more sensitive to politics and sexual liberation). The films covered a long period, from the beginning of the ’50s to the end of the ’90s.

We found three fundamental American movies: a great noir like Gun Crazy (1949) by Joseph H. Lewis, with the protagonist couple of a man and a woman becoming a pattern for many following gangster movies; The Wild One (1953), with one of the best performances of Marlon Brando, who became an icon of rebellion of that American generation; and Rebel Without a Cause (1955) directed by Nicholas Ray, the more classic movie on teenage rebellion, with James Dean who became a myth. Also featured was the Yugoslavian Night Trip (1961), the last film of Slovenian director Mirko Grobler, prematurely deceased at only 40 years; youthful love drama The Damned (1963), a science fiction film directed by Joseph Losey soon after his political exile to Great Britain, which deals with the theme of young counterculture violence; Identification Marks: None (1965) by Jerzy Skolimowski, a Polish drama on the failure of a young university student who must enter the military, with some interesting experimental language solutions. The Czechoslovak director Vera Chytilová’s 1966 Daisies, the story of two female teenagers, became one of the most important films of the Czech “New Wave” with its mixture of anarchy and cinematic experiment. Swedish director Vilgot Sjöman’s I Am Curious: Yellow (1967), through the vicissitude of young Lena, produced a hard portrait of Swedish society during the sexual revolution that was subjected to a strict censorship upon entry to the United States. While the Yugoslav Goran Markovic with National Class (1978) treated young restlessness through the depiction of a rally driver dreaming of promotion to a higher category. Lastly, Dazed and Confused (1993) by Richard Linklater is the incisive portrait of the American teen generation of the 1970s and  Little Girls (1997) directed by the French filmmaker Noémie Lvovsky, through the story of four ordinary girls in France at the end of the 1970s, deals in the form of comedy with the feelings of young women and the bittersweet experience of growing up in a world which is not always friendly.

Edited by Carmen Gray