From the 1950s to today, each generation has initiated its own cultural revolution. How do today’s youth cultural movements resonate with those of the past? On an eclectic and electric soundtrack – from the jazz of the 1950s to the rap of the 2000s, including funk, disco, rock n’ roll and techno – Marie Durrieu and Aurélien Guégan paint a nervous and refreshing portrait of youth revolts throughout the ages. 70 years of youth revolt tells how for seventy years each generation has invented radical and transgressive artistic forms to express its anger and find its place in a world of “old people”. An archival retrospective of the cultural movements carried by youth since the post-war period. From cinema to music through literature, a story of disobedience between idealism and spirit of revolt, an ode to idealism and the fury of living.
Part 1 (1949 to late 1970s)
In post-war Paris, in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, jazz clubs became the landmark of a freedom-loving youth. Outside of this privileged island, the discomfort of middle-class youth is embodied for the first time in the cinema in The Fury of Living with James Dean, propelled to the rank of teenage idol. In the mid-1960s, ten years after the arrival of rock and roll, the Brit pop wave, from the Who to the Rolling Stones, exorcised the frustrations of youth. In France, independent cinema, led by Truffaut, reinvented roles for young women, while in the Netherlands the Provos collective invented the happening and became passionate about ecology. From the hippie movement to the emergence of black pride and the rise of anti-capitalist revolutionary cinema, counter-culture accompanied the global rebellion against the backdrop of the Vietnam War. Throughout the 1970s, the irrigation of revolt nourished creativity, David Bowie raised the question of multiple identities, the women’s movement challenged male domination, disco freed bodies and launched an LGBT culture. The appearance of mass unemployment seems to sound the death knell of hopes. The punks blow it all up: no future!
Part 2 (1980s to present)
At the dawn of the 1980s in London, the Clash urged punks to stand up to young Jamaican immigrant reggae-fans to put an end to discrimination and injustice. In France, in 1983, it was the march for equality and against racism that brought together an entire generation. But at the beginning of the 1990s, a social obviousness became obvious: a gap was widening between two youths, those from the ghettos and the others. Coming from the United States, hip hop became the voice of the suburbs, while some people invented a dreamlike universe with techno and rave parties. With the explosion of the Internet and social networks in the 2000s, young people are transforming their relationship with artists and renewing their forms of political and social protest. From the computer and cell phone to the street, new creative forms accompany the anger, from Eastern Europe to the Arab world: youth is overthrowing dictatorships. These struggles are embodied in today’s uprisings: the climate, LGBT, #MeToo or Black Lives Matter movements are staging sensitivities that affect all generations. Seventy years of ruptures, cries and transgressions that plunge us back into our own youth.