The Kids Are Not Alright | reDiscover

Our season shines a light on youthful revolution on screen: find the films, programme notes and more

The Picturehouse Team

22 Mar 24


City of God

From 29 March | Book Now

Battle Royale

From 05 April | Book Now

Do The Right Thing

Film Club | From 15 April | Book Now

La Haine

From 19 April | Book Now

Do The Right Thing screens in our Film Club strand, with tickets just £1 for Picturehouse Members. Find more on Film Club here.


City of God (2002)

From 29 March  |  Book Now

City of God opens with a frenetically cut sequence that chops rhythmically between the sharpening of knives and samba music, whilst a chicken recognises that it's on the verge of a slaughter and escapes. Not for long—the poultry ultimately crosses paths with Rocket, our protagonist, who finds himself caught directly in the middle of a gang conflict. Thus ensues a moment of acceptance of the inevitable fate for both characters. The chicken waiting to be slaughtered reflects the situation of the favela's youth; but where a knife would be sharpened, a gun is polished instead, as gangs run rampant and violence can be seen everywhere.

Blending sharp and focused social criticism with a sprawling scope, City of God is part coming-of-age and part gangster epic that combines excitement with apprehension. Despite anxious concerns upon release that the heavy stylisation glorifies the tragic violence bred by extreme poverty, what's on display remains thoroughly unglamorous. Seemingly utilising every cinematic technique at their disposal, Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund combine the arts of filmmaking and oral history with intoxicating energy as flash-backs and flash-forwards, frantic whip pans and zooms, sweep you away into the film's grizzly favelas with dizzying, disorienting sensory overload.

– Ishan Huria, Picturehouse Intern

Battle Royale (2000)

From 05 April  |  Book Now

A favourite of Quentin Tarantino, unreleased theatrically in the US for ten years after its Japanese debut, and stamped with the rare R15+ certification in its home country, Battle Royale holds a deserved title as a cult film. The fictional story of Japan's extreme attempt to curb growing juvenile delinquency unfolds with a heady mix of violence and budding reality television aesthetics that would define dystopian successors such as The Hunger Games.  Its controversy in Japan has been likened to A Clockwork Orange in the UK, with similar fears of inspiring further delinquency in the youth – and the irony of the film being about those same anxieties (and the violence the government can cause through single-minded fear) only heightens the horror of watching children massacre children for a chance to survive. 

Yet the film's lasting impact lies in its aesthetics and genre. The title is now shared with a popular manga genre that often depicts teenagers forced to fight to the death; its imagery of weapon-wielding kids in school uniforms splattered with blood has worked its way into US pop culture in films like Kill Bill or Kick-Ass. In light of reconsideration of the 'Asian Extreme' moniker that encompassed films like Battle Royale, as we process how we consume imagery out of Japan, it is undeniable that Battle Royale – and the concept of how we could treat teenagers and how they could act in retaliation – lingers uneasily, yet profoundly, in the public consciousness.

– Issy Macleod, Film Programmer

Do The Right Thing (1989)

Film Club  |  From 12 April  |  Book Now

"Phew!" The headline of a New York Post newspaper reads. "Hazy, hot, humid and heading toward 100°", its subtext a sizzling commentary on race relations in late 1980s America.

Do The Right Thing's technical form is a film teacher's dream: impressive in its use of colour, deploying striking reds, yellows and oranges to represent heat and, most importantly, rising tension. Dutch angle shots carry a sense of instability. The neighbourhood – America – is a pressure cooker, heating until it reaches its limit at the film's forceful climax. 

35 years ago, director Spike Lee portrayed the microaggressions and injustices that contributed to the film's escalating conflict, and 35 years later – cue a heavy, disappointed sigh – the consequences of unchecked prejudices are ones we still see reflected in contemporary affairs pertaining to marginalised groups. But in a more positive light, Do the Right Thing is a bold symbol of black American culture, congruently incorporating rap music, AAVE colloquialism and fashion. Public Enemy's 'Fight the Power' acts as a powerful soundtrack – to amplify the voices of the oppressed, honouring the enduring legacies of Black communities in America.

Avery Omondi, Picturehouse Intern

La Haine (1995)

From 19 April  |  Book Now

On 06 April 1993, Makomé M'Bowolé was shot in the face by a policeman at point-blank range during a riot in Paris. Upon hearing about this, Mathieu Kassovitz was interested in exploring what could possibly happen in a day for someone to meet such an unexpected fate. Shot whilst the riots of the '90s were still ongoing, Kassovitz's La Haine provides us with a less romanticised look at Paris than usual, Pierre Aïm's cinematography stripping the city down to its barest visual form.

As a result of being pushed into the suburban banlieues, the film's young central trio and their multi-racial community have their own unique mesh of cultures. The popularity of American entertainment and the consumerism of the late 20th century are on full display: references to Taxi Driver and Lethal Weapon are just two of many signifiers of youthful obsession, the perceived 'coolness' of gangsterism brushing up against the real violence that pervades. 

Despite its clear grasp on the circumstances in Paris at the time, no definite answers are provided in La Haine, simply because none appear to be available. Only one thing is certain: violence is not the solution. Both gut-busting and gut-wrenching, La Haine provides us with a look at a genuine group of friends, united in their social exclusion, inhabiting a challenging environment. The world is ours, they say: only we can choose how to navigate it.

– Ishan Huria, Picturehouse Intern

From beloved classics to unearthed gems, reintroduce yourself to the best films of yesterday with reDiscover — be that last decade, or last century.

Film Club - special screenings every week, curated by us, are just £1 for Picturehouse Members. All other tickets £8. Find more on Film Club and see the latest films here.