Slamdance 2021: “Teenage Emotions”

© eighty minus two

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Has it ever happened to you, that, after watching a movie or documentary, you find yourself trying to shake your thoughts away? Almost like wanting to forget a nightmarish experience, a shocking one that gave you a piece of information you did not want to know about yet can’t get rid of from your mind?

“Teenage Emotions” examines adolescence in a very shocking way. All shot in close-up scenes, as if the camera tried not to miss any expression of its subjects, the film takes us into a high school where the students’ priorities include discussing their first kisses, how to steal homework, what girl to pick for a night, or which girl is prettier, smarter and capable. Shot entirely on iPhone, Frédéric Da paints the picture of an American High School by getting into its grey areas no filmmaker ever tried to reach before.

Let’s face it; nothing you see in the film is pretty. Nothing at all. However, that aspect of it is what makes it stunningly authentic. Shot with real students, it creates an interesting aura between the students, almost as if they were unaware of the presence of the camera. Strangely, everything unfolding before your eyes is surreal, intelligent yet terrifying. We meet Jaya (Jaya Harper) who talks to her best friend about how to date a guy. Jayden (Jayden Capers), one of the few you will meet in the film, has morals as he tries to put up with his group of friends that discusses girls as if they were objects.

 There are a lot of students who I would want to mention in this piece but am afraid to spoil anything for you. “Teenage Emotions” gets as honest as it can. Every single frame, shot and line delivered is real, raw and scary. Most students appearing in the film are far from smart. They don’t even try. But that’s their age, their way of concentrating on their life as they set priorities for themselves. They don’t read many books nor can spell Bernie’s (Sanders) name correctly nor their knowledge of the current U.S president is that obvious.

Frédéric Da`s “Teenage Emotions” is like a shocking therapy with a punch in the gut you will feel yourself getting throughout. Thankfully, it’s not too long to keep enduring the pain, as we watch the disappearance of future in youth that really want to become somebody not just in society, but for someone else. The brilliance of the film is in its striking concept that is one of the most intelligent I have seen in a while. And, of course, the performance of its entire cast that will turn your day upside down, make you think about everything you see and shake you to the core. Yes, it has that chilling effect. Just have a blanket by your side to not feel too cold.

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