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Documentary, History

Teenagers did not always exist. In this living collage of rare archival material, filmed portraits, and voices lifted from early 20th Century diary entries, a struggle erupts between adults and adolescents to define a new idea of youth.

More information on this production is available at

The critical consensus

A mildly interesting documentary but one that barely skims the surface of the subject matter.

***(*)(*)Allan Hunter, The List, 20/01/2014

The history of teenagerdom feels like the history of a revolutionary artistic movement, like surrealism or situationism, full of wild clothes, new music, provocation and excitement.

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, 22/01/2014

Doesn’t tell us all that much, but full of loving grace, nonetheless. A teenage dream, indeed.

Chris Blohm, Little White Lies, 23/01/2014

As shown here, ‘teenagers’ didn’t just spring from nowhere circa 1945 – which is when this film very pointedly ends too. Mesmerising.

****(*)Ali Catterall, Total Film, 20/01/2014

This experimental documentary offers a fascinating insight into the birth of the teenager as a social construct by exploring the way in which youth was shaped by and helped shape the early 20th century.

****(*)Alistair Harkness, The Scotsman, 25/01/2014

Matt Wolf's film is structured in an awkward fashion, falling somewhere between a conventional documentary and a poetic essay.

***(*)(*)Geoffrey MacNab, The Independent, 23/01/2014

Through a dense collage of archive, retro-reconstruction, and dramatic narration, this fascinating study leads us through the personal and political stories of Jitterbugs, Boy Scouts, Bright Young Things and Hitler Youths.

***(*)(*)Mark Kermode, The Observer, 26/01/2014

Tackling a huge sociological subject in less than 90 minutes, Teenage is adolescence personified: a bit superficial and spotty.

***(*)(*)Siobhan Synnot, The Scotsman, 03/02/2014

Features about Teenage

'As a teenager you see the world as it is'

Alistair Harkness, The Scotsman, 22/01/2014

Where and when?

Glasgow Film Theatre, Glasgow from Monday March 3, 2014, until Thursday March 6, 2014. More info:

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