Cinema, Destination Image and Place Branding Cinema, Destination Image & Place Branding - Page 139

THE VISUALIZATION OF THE UTOPIAN SPACE IN AMERICAN TEEN FILMS AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO A POSSIBILITY FOR TOURISM in critically acclaimed films such as Stand by Me (Rob Reiner, 1986) and American Graffiti (George Lucas, 1974) is evident in the foregrounding of a writerly voice, a sense of narrative inevitability, and the subsequent con- cealment of ideology. (24) Although it might be true that nostalgic teen films are politically less articu- late 4 than juvenile delinquent films, whose purpose is to uncover the contradic- tions and problems of society by adolescents’ point of view, it is doubtful whether nostalgic teen films “contain adolescence” as Lesley states. Speed herself argues that “… the adult writer has a privileged perspective that enables him to pene- trate the meaning of adolescence where few others can” (29). They try to give meaning to the youth, which has passed while they didn’t know, and visualize the utopian space. Focusing on personal elements rather than political or ideological elements goes well with the fact that growing up became a psychological and personal matter in recent years. It is easy to decide that Gordon, the protagonist of Stand by Me, has something to do with Curt, the protagonist of American Graffiti. Both characters were played by the same actor and both characters became writers. The structural similarity between Stand by Me and American Graffiti cannot be ignored. There are many things in common between these two films. The most dis- tinguishable point is that both make people feel nostalgic. In Stand By Me, both in the beginning and in the end, Gordon as an adult appears. The boys’ story is intro- duced by a grown-up Gordon’s voice. Showing the protagonist’s adult self and by narrating the story from his point of view give meanings to each and every scenes of the description of his boyhood. Gordon as a writer reconstructs his youth by telling a story. This is the process of giving meaning to the past experience and make the “youth” as utopian space visible. Those boys are only twelve years old when the story took place. So it is not likely that they became completely differ- ent after that little trip on the railway. Only by the voice of the adult writer looking back on the particular day, it is given meaning as a landmark of their growth. Films compress the process of growing up into one particular night or summer for us to visualize. With the help of adult’s point of view, the process of compressing the 4 For example, violence of the elder delinquents including Chris’s big bother in Stand By Me might foretell Viet Nam war in the sixties. However, this kind of political elements are elimi- nated from the movie and it only focuses on more personal things. return to the content page 139