Coming of age films explore the slippery slopes of firsts: first crushes, first mistakes, first encounters away from home. On the wobbly path to adulthood, these stories follow the journeys of soul-searching protagonists learning from the world they encounter and allowing it to shape who they are as young adults. The 26th Raindance Film Festival brings a showcase of coming-of-age gems, carrying universal moments for every viewer to relate to and reflect for themselves who they were then, and who they are now.
We The Coyotes
Directed by Hanna Ladoul & Marco La Via
L.A. holds many promises for Amanda and Jake, who arrive into the city hoping for a fresh start with no money and few plans. This film captures 24 hours of their bonding with the city in search of an elusive end point. Their journey is recorded almost like a travelogue as they move from place to place learning about each other and themselves against the backdrop of a city symbolising glamour and lofty dreams. A touching film on the relationship between two people finding their feet in a new place.
Above The Clouds
Directed by Leon Chambers
Becoming an adult, whatever that means, is supposed to happen on our eighteenth birthday – or so we are led to believe. Charlie, unsatisfied with her monotonous job and unsupportive parents, embarks on an epic road trip to Scotland to discover some truths about herself. Armed with a provisional driving license and her mum’s credit card, Charlie also recruits Oz, a homeless man to act as her ‘responsible adult.’ With engrossing performances and a funny script, ABOVE THE CLOUDS shows the life-affirming journey of a young woman navigating a very confusing and symbolic milestone.
Mi Vida Loca
Directed by Allison Anders
Drugs, gangs and murder are all part of Mousie and Sad Girl’s world, two Mexican-American gang members in Echo Park, LA, who have been best friends since childhood. Exploring the heart of LA gangland culture, MI VIDA LOCA has a critical look on its influence on young women and their road to adulthood with men whose lives are under continuous threat. Critically acclaimed at the time of its release, the film failed to find a wide audience. Now it is a ripe rediscovery with its focus on the urban experience of young Mexican-American women in an age of Trumpian chauvinism.
Tre Maison Dasan
Directed by Denali Tiller
TRE MAISON DASAN follows three children who are current and recent inmates of the Rhode Island prison system. Tre, aged thirteen, is teeming with adolescent anger; whilst Maison, eleven, has Asperger Syndrome, his nervous energy and eagerness clashing against prison boundaries. Dasan, only six, barely understands what prison means. Denali Tiller’s documentary provides unfiltered access and an empathetic touch to their lives, witnessing heart-wrenching conversations and raw moments of their childhood development.
Directed by Rene Eller
During one hot summer, a gang of privileged teens embark on a wild journey through the dark heart of suburbia. Their hedonistic attitudes and lack of inhibition lead them into lucrative sex work, but their greed quickly envelops them in a web of abuse, blackmail and self-destruction. Adapted from a controversial novel by Elvis Peeters, WE is a story about abuses of power and privilege. Unconcerned with the consequences of their actions, the members of the group spur each other on to ever more sociopathic behaviour. Sexual assault and humiliation, back-alley abortion, violence towards animals – there is, it seems, nothing beyond their pale. WE depicts the extremes to which a group of spoiled youths on a power trip can go.
When Margaux Meets Margaux
Directed by Sophie Fillières
A young woman called Margaux divides her days between shoplifting and two uninteresting boyfriends whilst living with her best friend Esther. Meanwhile an older woman called Margaux attends the funeral of her old flat mate, Esther, with whom she has long ago lost touch. After the two Margauxes meet at a house party, they begin to believe they are the same person at different ages. And while young Margaux realizes she can ask older Margaux about the outcomes of her one-night stands, the older Margaux becomes convinced that she could prevent young Margaux from making the same bad decisions that resulted in her lonely and unsatisfying middle-age life. A witty drama with a quirky and unique take on aging and becoming something you feared when you get older.