Youth and Cinema: meet the Virajovem Gabriel

Gabriel Santos is 17 years old, has a positive attitude and dreamy eyes. He lives in Downtown São Paulo and is part of the Youth Press Agency project, in Viração. Although he’s interested in all forms of art, his real passion is cinema.

Anyone who’s met Gabriel when he was younger wouldn’t imagine he’d become such a specialist in the subject. He didn’t like cinema until his uncle showed him alternative movies and explained what really was behind the screen. Ever since that happened, the 7th art is part of his universe and of his identity.

The first movie to get his attention was “Run, Lola run!” (Tom Tykwer,1998). Gabriel was just eight years old when he watched it, at his uncle’s house. After observing all details of the movie, he loved it!

So, his uncle invited him to analyse Pixar movies as well, like Finding Nemo and Cars. At that time, Gabriel realised why he didn’t use to like cinema before: “I’ve always found the movies very boring, with simple stories, all alike”.

Later, he fell in love with Alfred Hitchcock’s movies. “I found his techniques so genius! I like that he always manages to make innocent things turn out to be dangerous in the end, just like in Psicose.” Through Hitchcock, Gabriel started studying more about cinema.

He liked the subject so much that, in 2018, he´s planning to study Filmmaking in college. His biggest goal is to bring back the elements and techniques from the 20s and 30s to contemporary movies, like the alternative films do.

“Usually in the cinema, the way of filming is pre-established. The scripts follow the same rules. But in the alternative movies, that doesn’t happen. You can mix and gather different techniques”, he explains.

As an example of alternative film, Gabriel cites “Dogville” (Lars von Trier, 2003). It captured his attention due to the simplicity of the sceneries and unusual scene cuts. The whole movie was filmed inside a galpon in Sweden, with very few accessories – there are only marks on the floor signaling elements of the space: houses, gardens etc, a technique better known as conceptual scenery. “While you’re watching it, you forget that there are no streets, walls or any real scenery.”

Though Gabriel loves cinema, he criticises the lack of representivity of youth in the industry. He doesn’t like the teenage movies, such as “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (John Hughes, 1986).

“It’s a Blockbuster movie that doesn’t represent youth as something difficult to go through, but as something purely fun. It’s a fact that the movie shows things that young people do until now: lie to parents, go to parties and that stuff”, he argues.

This kind of movie was really popular during the 80s, maybe because young people were the main public of the industry. But Gabriel still thinks that youth is not well represented in the big screen.

Another teenage movie produced by John Hughes during the 80s is “Breakfast Club”. This movie, though, is much better in Gabriel’s opinion. He thinks the characters are pure stereotypes – Alisson, the freak, is a compulsive liar; Andrew, the athlete, is insecure and stressed by his parents to follow athletic career; John, the rebel, comes from an abusive home; Brian, the geek, and Claire, the popular girl, are ashamed of their virginity. But, Gabriel thinks the movie explores the behavior of the characters, so it’s more complex and real.

“The movie shows why the characters are like that, what’s behind their behaviour, how their lives affect their choices.”

About youth and cinema, Gabriel believes there are some situations in which the directors are young, but the reviews are made by older people who have more influence inside the industry.

As a solution, he thinks youth should be more present in spaces of cinema discussion and debates. “The reviews would definitely be different if they were made by young people – they have less experience about the history of cinema, but they can be more creative and bring new references”, he says.

We don’t know the end of this script, but the options for Gabriel are many. All we can be suren is that there’s an independent co-scripted work in the making: the fight for the brazilian youth to occupy more spaces, either in the arts, in the streets, in the schools or in politics.

The exhibition will be free of charge.