American Graffiti: A Video Essay

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Vimeo user Andrew Saladino‘s essay The Art Of Teen Films on George Lucas’ American Graffiti uses the film as an example (along with Dazed And Confused, and The Last Picture Show) to show how to penetrate the world of the teenager in a very real way, by focusing on diegetic music and sound as a storytelling device, central to the young protagonists lives, and making their experiences relatable, free of cynicism.

Of course, not every teen has spent their time cruising in cars around  a Californian small-town strip, but that sense of fun and freedom is universal. Teens don’t have a smart-ass quip or pithy platitude for every occasion, which is what I think the essayist is getting at. Somewhere along the way, the makers of teen films forgot to make their characters kids.



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