sex, lies, (drugs, violence, neglect, angst, suicide) andvideotape: Defining the Contemporary Delinquent Film Cycle Open Access

Ludin, Tessa Marie (2014)

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This thesis attempts to define the contemporary (1990-present) juvenile delinquent film cycle. The delinquent film is a subgenre of the broader teen film genre and has often been connected most strongly to films of the 1950s. Films with delinquent film qualities and characteristics were made before and have been made since, and this thesis uses cyclical analysis to differentiate between and define JD trends throughout history. This broadens the scope of the delinquent film as a subgeneric category and allows for comparisons across time.

The first chapter uses information from the Motion Picture Production Code and its files on specific JD films to help make sense of the trend in the subgenre to reclaim and reinstitute order in the film's resolution. My argument is that, rather than seeing this as a decision made by the filmmakers, this is much more an outcome of the rules and regulations of the Code. We see this trend persist beyond the dismantling of the Production Code, and with that, I argue the second cycle emerges. Choosing to follow the films of the 1950s and 1960s faithfully, the films of the second cycle both end with the reinstitution of order as well as adopt a period-film setting in order to aesthetically mimic the earlier films. The thesis argues that this faithfulness actually acts in contradiction to the essence of the films of the first cycle, shifting the subgenre from the realm of the social problem film to a coming of age narrative. The third cycle emerges as a result of the boom in independent cinema of the late 1980s, and allows the subgenre to return to the volatility of the present while radically rethinking narrative and aesthetic motifs of the subgenre. The second chapter explores the second cycle in depth, comparing thirty-five contemporary delinquent films in order to examine their commonalities. The third chapter, through examining film reviews, box office statistics, MPAA ratings, and notions of the festival art film, looks to simultaneously use and question traditional concepts of film genre.

Table of Contents

Introduction - 1

Chapter 1: History of the Subgenre - 6

Chapter 2: The Contemporary Cycle - 30

Chapter 3: Genre - 83

Conclusion - 103

Appendix: Films of the Cycle - 106

Bibliography - 110

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