The films of the eighties renewed the relevance of the adolescent world. Whether it was with the absurd murders of hormonal boys or with stories of school life, this time served to give a twist to the protagonists. It was not about representing heroes or villains, the importance was simply to show how the intimate lives of young people who are trying to understand their own personality and what the future holds.
John Hughes is one of the names that always stands out when it comes to teenage cinema. His work in The club of five – 89% continues to be analyzed even as a theatrical piece. Certainly the characters are stereotypes, but the story works precisely for that reason, as a representation of what society and school coexistence ask of adolescents. Molly Ringwald, who is considered the director’s muse, believes that his films end up being positive in terms of their representation, but also very negative in terms of the inherent machismo of his projects.
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Ringwald wrote for The New Yorker about the tapes that made her famous. The red-haired actress claims that she hadn’t thought much about these movies, but that she sat down to watch The club of five with his daughter and ended up understanding the gravity of certain moments in history. Similarly, when delving into other Hughes works, she encountered dangerous manifestations of the director’s machismo, but also with the importance of his work for adolescents of the time.
His essay certainly demonstrates the conflicts that arise with the contradictions of a work. Ringwald expresses the negative message that is fostered in the director’s most famous film, where the character of Bender, played by Judd Nelson, wins the girl in the end even though he took out his anger on her, verbally abused and was even able to touch her in a way. Inappropriate when she ducked under his table to hide, all without showing guilt, regret, or actual changes in character. The actress even remembers that for this last shot, an adult woman was asked to replace her, because her underwear would be seen and she was a minor. In the same way, she believes that a big problem is demonstrated with the premise of Boyfriend Wanted – 86%, where the protagonist feels devastated because they forget her birthday, but is even more affected by the possibilities of missing her date for the school dance. As an even clearer and even disturbing example, the actress explains:
When jake [Se busca novio], essentially trades his drunken girlfriend, Caroline, The Geek for him to satisfy her sexual urges, in exchange for getting Samantha’s underwear back. The Geek takes photos with Caroline as proof of his conquest; When she wakes up the next morning with someone she doesn’t know, he asks her if she “enjoyed it.” (Neither seems to remember much) Caroline shakes her head in wonder and responds, “You know, I have this strange feeling that I did,” She has to have a feeling about that, rather than a thought, because thoughts are things. that we have when we are conscious, and she was not.
Ringwald also mentions that the actress who played Caroline believes it was the character’s fault for being too drunk. This is proof of the problems in recognizing and admitting sexual violence, especially when it does not involve yelling and fighting.
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However, after remembering the macho texts, stories and articles that Hughes wrote when he was young for various magazines, Ringwald acknowledges that his films served to give a voice to a generation that was despised. Adolescents did not count for much, but these types of tapes, even negative in their sexist nature and sexual violence as Porky’s, meant their only representation. The actress has met several people throughout her life who claim that they felt better about their sexuality thanks to the films, as they were about characters who recognized themselves as out of place. The problem is that being the only representation has a greater responsibility, but Hughes did not feel that moral pressure. Ringwald ends his writing by explaining how difficult it is to appreciate art that these types of tendencies have. The essential thing is not to erase or ignore the past, but to strive to foster a new type of conversation about adolescents.
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