Synopsis by Judd Blaise
The rise of teen culture in 1950s Britain provides the backdrop for Julien Temple's unconventional rock musical Absolute Beginners. The film centers on Colin, an 18-year-old with a talent for photography and a fondness for the neon nightlife of British jazz clubs. He also is in love with Crepe Suzette, an impulsive, ambitious young beauty who abandons him after attracting the attention of a powerful fashion designer. Depressed and aimless, Colin turns for help to a flashy ad executive (David Bowie) who promises to make him a star photographer. The former lovers take parallel paths to success, capitalizing on the youth mania gripping the nation. The film's nostalgic yet gently satirical look at teen culture is tempered by a recognition of the era's social tension, particularly a disturbing rise in racism. Despite these serious undertones, however, the film tells its story with a colorful vibrancy reminiscent of both MTV and old Hollywood musicals, filled with such show-stopping numbers as a memorable sequence in which Bowie dances on a giant typewriter. Critical reception was mixed, with some hailing the film's spectacular cinematography and ambitious scope, while others found the mixture of tones and style too inconsistent. The film also drew lukewarm response at the box office, with the memorable soundtrack receiving more attention than the film itself.
nightlife, British, jazz, teenagers, photographer, racism, social-change, advertising-executive