Monday, July 25, 2011
Welcome back to "The Films Of Frank De Felitta", a look at the documentary films made by my father for NBC news in the 1960's. Posting these movies has been a real joy and--it turns out--has cost me quite a bit of money; for after posting "Mississippi: A Self Portrait" a few months ago I wound up--largely due to the internet traffic and its subsequent revelations--beginning my own documentary follow-up to that film. More on that later, however.
My father is alive, well and truly happy that these films--which were clearly made with love, care and careful deliberation--are having a second life on the internet. NBC never aired them again and as far as I can tell my fathers cherished sixteen millimeter prints are the only evidence of their existence.
So: here comes "The World of the Teenager". Shot in Lexington Massachusetts in 1966, the film is a fascinating and by no means square or dated look at a turning point in our culture which may or may not have been evident during the films making; the teenagers depicted are half fifties goody-goods (with a dash of rebel-glam element thrown in) and half sixties renegades in the making--with Beatles haircuts to prove it. Still, we are a year or two shy of what we generally think of now as "sixties youth"--none of these kids is about to burn a draft card, grow their hair too long, journey to Haight-Ashbury or drop acid. Or if they are they are not yet wearing their rebellion proudly for my father's cameras. As a period piece, "The World Of the Teenager" is a fascinating time-capsulized look at the moment before a bubble burst--in this case the bubble of a perfect, happy, all-American existence. Soon the charade was exposed, the kids were cut loose and the towns like Lexington Mass. were nostalgic for the "problems" they had when my father and the news people showed up to document this relatively innocuous time.
The volcano hasn't exploded but it's about to. Dig parts one and two of "The World of the Teenager". As always, if you're interested in seeing the film in one big gulp, go to my youtube channel where it's posted. Enjoy!
Posted by Raymond De Felitta at 6:14 PM