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Show Me Love: International Teen Cinema

January 02, 2019 – January 19, 2019

The Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA PS1, and the MoMA Stores in New York City have closed temporarily. 

American cinema has an enduring legacy of films about teenagers: teens in love, teens in revolt, teens in agony. Outfitted with disposable incomes and surpluses of time, teenagers are the ideal moviegoing audience and have been treated as such since the early 20th century in the United States, resulting in a genre of financially lucrative “teen films,” often aimed at teenagers themselves. An abundance of established international filmmakers have addressed themes of adolescence early in their careers often resulting in nuanced, personal, and adventurous works. The twilight of teenagehood, in between the innocence of childhood and the consequence of adulthood, proves to be a limitless topic for exploration. These films, all held in MoMA’s film collection, illustrate underrepresented experiences of teenagehood from gender performance to radical political awakenings. Primarily international, these films challenge the classic conceptions of typical American teen films that historically feature mostly white casts and reinforce heteronormative, patriarchal values, with characters striving towards independence on their own terms.

Organized by Olivia Priedite, Senior Program Assistant and Brittany Shaw, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Film.



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Cooley High. 1975. USA. Directed by Michael Schultz. Courtesy American International Pictures/Photofest

Nénette et Boni (Nenette and Boni). 1996. France. Directed by Claire Denis. Courtesy Photofest.

Diabolo Menthe (Peppermint Soda). 1977. France. Directed by Diane Kurys. Courtesy New Yorker Films/Photofest

Real Women Have Curves. 2002. USA. Directed by Patricia Cardoso. Courtesy Newmarket Films/Photofest

Real Women Have Curves. 2002. USA. Directed by Patricia Cardoso. Courtesy Newmarket Films/Photofest

Real Women Have Curves. 2002. USA. Directed by Patricia Cardoso. Courtesy Newmarket Films/Photofest

Hets (Torment). 1944. Sweden. Directed by Alf Sjöberg. Courtesy Lopert/Photofest

Totally Fucked Up. 1993. USA. Written and directed by Gregg Araki. Courtesy Strand Releasing/Photofest

Teen Kanya (Two Daughters). 1961. India. Directed by Satyajit Ray. Courtesy Janus Films/Photofest.

Valerie a týden divu (Valerie and Her Week of Wonders). 1970. Czechoslovakia. Directed by Jaromil Jires. Courtesy Janus Films

A byahme mladi (We Were Young). 1961. Bulgaria. Directed by Binka Zhelyazkova. Courtesy Bulgarian National Film Archive