Though often lumped together with screwball teen comedies of the era, Fast Times is a more nuanced portrayal of high school life in Southern California in the 1980s. Directed by Amy Heckerling, it prefigures the emotional complexities that would characterize John Hughes’s trademark high school features from later in the decade. The film is full of authentic and over-the-top, self-aware caricatures, including Sean Penn as the surfer/stoner Jeff Spicoli. The tough and tender portrayals of teen life by Phoebe Cates and Jennifer Jason Leigh, simultaneously figuring out and performing their sexual identities, reveal affinities with some of the characters in guest curator Jennifer Reeder’s films.
The program includes a 40th-anniversary interview with director Amy Heckerling by Paul Thomas Anderson. 1982, DCP, 110 min.
Students watch for free on Fridays!
This summer series is guest-curated with filmmaker Jennifer Reeder. In addition to the screenings of the artist’s recent films—Knives and Skin, A Million Miles Away, Blood Below the Skin, and Crystal Lake—Reeder presents programs highlighting three formative teen features from the 1980s and ’90s: Kids, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and Little Darlings.
Content advisory: contains offensive language and scenes of teens having sex, smoking marijuana, and drinking alcohol.
About the Artist
Jennifer Reeder constructs personal fiction films about relationships, trauma, and coping. Her innovative, award-winning narratives borrow from a range of forms, such as after school specials, amateur music videos, and magical realism. Reeder’s films have screened in festivals worldwide, including Sundance, Berlin, London, Tribeca, Rotterdam, SXSW, the Venice Biennale, and the Whitney Biennial.
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