Cinema, Destination Image and Place Branding Cinema, Destination Image & Place Branding - Page 135

THE VISUALIZATION OF THE UTOPIAN SPACE IN AMERICAN TEEN FILMS AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO A POSSIBILITY FOR TOURISM Driscoll calls this transitional youth as no place: “At the same time, this no- place is also a utopia (literally ‘no place’), a fantasy of freedom and possibility based on the contradictions of the present.” (112) In this essay, following Driscoll’s idea, I will define the ambiguous place between childhood and adulthood where teenagers are as a utopian space. It is close to what Erikson called moratorium. As discussed above, these days, growing up has become a personal, psychological matter that is very hard to define. This is one of the reasons why we name the transitional time and space as utopia. It is not an actual space or term. Thus it cannot be seen. It is hard to define what this utopian place means and it is even harder to prove if it even exists. Then, my argument in this paper is, what teen films do in terms of its repre- sentation of the youth is to visualize that utopian space. Although she successfully names the space as utopia, Driscoll failed to explain why it has to be cinemas’ role to visualize them and how they did it. One of the most distinctive privileges of cin- ema is that it makes you see things. For even the abstract concepts, what cinema does is to visualize them. People do not become an adult over a night, or over a summer. However, in order to grasp this obscure process of becoming an adult, one has to visualize the process. It is teem film’s role to compress the long back and forth procedure of becoming an adult into one night or one summer (for the audi- ence, it is more or less than two hours) and name it clearly for us to see. I am going to discuss how they visualize the utopian place by focusing espe- cially on these films: Stand By Me (1986), American Graffiti (1973), and The Wizard of Oz (1939). The goal of this paper is to figure out, by analyzing how teen films visu- alize the process of growing up on the screen, what films do to the audience in terms of visualizing our own experience of youth. And then, I will relate this issue to tourism in the last chapter. Body Text 1. From The Wizard of Oz to Stand By Me—The Evolution of the Teen Films and Its Representation of the Utopian Space Although it is often argued that teen film is an invention of the 1950s and “It seems that no one used the label ‘teen film’ before the 1950s ‘teenpics’” (Driscoll, 12), one of the first cinematic representations of utopian space as the place where a teenager becomes an adult is the mythical land of Oz in The Wizard of Oz (1939). Apparently, the interpretations for this film vary. At the end of The Wizard of Oz, return to the content page 135