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Cinema paradiso

By PETER KEOUGH  |  April 22, 2008


American Teen
95 Minutes | Somerville Theatre: April 26 at 7:30 Pm

The stars aligned when director Nanette Burstein was filming American Teen, a documentary that followed five teenagers from a conservative Midwestern town — Warsaw, Indiana — during their last year of high school. Although her subjects were culled from five different cliques, the heartthrob inadvertently develops a crush on the artsy, rebellious girl, and together they launch an organic, when-social-hierarchies-collide story line that John Hughes would approve of. Burnstein decided to leave the definition of an “American teen” to the experts themselves, who through interviews and gems of footage tease out the varying affectations of adolescence. But she also had the foresight to choose individuals who were shamelessly aware of their fate and could celebrate it: tormenting others with less power, bending to the pressures of jockdom, suffering the punishment of their own insecurities, and forsaking advice to grow up on their own stubborn terms.

— Sharon Steel

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