The Worst Years of Our Lives | Chicago Reader

The Worst Years of Our Lives

Chicago Film Archives presents another program of moldering 16-millimeter items rescued from the garbage when the Chicago Public Library shut down its film-rental program. This one collects three absurdly dated documentaries about adolescence, two of which—Social Courtesy (1951, 10 min.) and Age of Turmoil (1953, 19 min.)—are strictly camp items. The third, however, is a fascinating time capsule: produced and originally broadcast by CBS News, 16 in Webster Groves (1966, 45 min.) shows reporter Charles Kuralt interviewing high school students and their parents in the title Missouri town. Their unapologetic consumerism, conformism, and complacency are a sharp reminder that the 60s youth rebellion constantly hyped in our current media was extremely concentrated in college towns and urban centers, and the Nixonian backlash of the early 70s was a foregone conclusion.


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