N. 6 (2020): Kids Don't Just Wanna Have Fun. Material Girls, Wild Boys, and the Melancholic Eighties

Youthful Melancholy: The Loss of Innocence in Another Country and The Company of Wolves

Amy Wai Sum Lee
Hong Kong Baptist University
Madonna, 'Girl Gone Wild' (dir. Mert & Marcus, 2012)

Pubblicato 2020-12-04

Come citare

Lee, A. W. S. (2020). Youthful Melancholy: The Loss of Innocence in Another Country and The Company of Wolves. De Genere - Rivista Di Studi Letterari, Postcoloniali E Di Genere, (6). Recuperato da https://www.degenere-journal.it/index.php/degenere/article/view/137


Youth in culture is a highly suggestive symbol. The in-between nature of the youthful state – having more power than the child, but not fixed as an adult – has symbolized rich possibilities beyond the conventional. In the midst of the seemingly light-hearted and fun loving glossy 1980s, specific examples in popular culture have featured the youth as a site of ambiguous energy, uncertain loyalty and overall unreliable members of the community. Their experiences, as represented in the media, may give us a glimpse of the hidden anxiety and the buried mournfulness packaged in youth experiences.

The proposed article will discuss two British film adaptations, of a stage play and a short story respectively, to examine how the media have depicted the melancholies of the era through the youth’s experiences. Another Country (1984), directed by Marek Kanievska, was based on the play by Julian Mitchell, alluding to the early life of spy and double agent Guy Burgess, in the main character Guy Bennett. The film starts with the aged Bennett being interviewed and recalling his young days at the elite boarding school. As the students are all elites in the social hierarchy, the school masters have turned a blind eye to the many deviant behaviours among the youths. Guy Bennett, staying true to his homosexual orientation, learns his lesson when trying to protect his illicit love. The uncomfortable sense of oppression and repression follows through Bennett’s remembrance, and mourns for the loss of the self that started so many years before. Neil Jordan’s The Company of Wolves (1984) is based on the short story written by Angela Carter, and adapted into a gothic-style horror fantasy. The fearless Rosaleen, the teenage version of Little Red Riding Hood, transgresses the human world into the bestial world, to understand desire and its potential power of overturning the order of the world. Packaged as a horror story, the film suggests the buried underside of orderly and rational society, and its special bond with the youth, who is at the crossroads between childhood and adulthood.

Riferimenti bibliografici

  1. DeSalvo, Louise. 1999. Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives. Boston: Beacon Press.
  2. Eng, David L., David Kazanjian. 2003. Loss: The Politics of Mourning. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.
  3. Freud, Sigmund. 1917. "Mourning and Melancholia." In The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XIV (1914-1916): On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement, Papers on Metapsychology and Other Works, by Sigmund Freud, 237-258. London: The Hogarth Press.
  4. Girelli, Elisabetta. 2011. "The Traitor as Patriot: Guy Burgess, Englishness and camp in Another Country and An Englishman Abroad." Journal of European Popular Culture 2 (2): 129-141.
  5. Grenier, Richard. 1984. "From Eton to Havana." Commentary, September: 61-64.
  6. Groves, Nancy. 2014. "Kenneth Branagh and Julian Mitchell: how we made Another Country." The Guardian, March 25. Accessed: 22 November 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2014/mar/25/how-we-made-another-country-kenneth-branagh-rupert-everett.
  7. Hanff, Helene, and James Roose-Evans. 1987. 84 Charing Cross Road. Directed by David Jones. Performed by Anthony Hopkins, Anne Bancroft and Judi Dench.
  8. Hopper, Keith. 2003. "Hairy on the Inside: Re-Visiting Neil Jordan's The Company of Wolves." The Canadian Journal of Irish Studies 29 (2): 17-26.
  9. Kennedy, Harlan. 1984. "Treasons of the Heart." Film Comment, July/August: 9-14.
  10. Martin, Sara. 2001. "Little Red Riding Hood Meets the Werewolf: Genre and Gender Tensions in Neil Jordan's The Company of Wolves." Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts 12 (1): 18-33.
  11. McCann, Sharon. 2010. "With redundance of blood': Reading Ireland in Neil Jordan's The Company of Wolves." Marvels and Tales 24 (1): 68-85.
  12. Monk, Claire. 1995. "The British"heritage film' and its critics." Critical Survey 7 (2): 116-124. https://www.jstor.org/stable/41555905.
  13. Rose, James. 2007. "The Dreaming and the Dreamt: A Lexicon of Neil Jordan's The Company of Wolves." The Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies (2): 38-54.
  14. Taylor, Peter. 1997. Provos: The IRA and Sinn Féin . London: Bloomsbury.
  15. Zucker, Carole. 2000. "Sweetest Tongue Has Sharpest Tooth: The Dangers of Dreaming in Neil Jordan's The Company of Wolves." Literature/Film Quarterly 28 (1): 66-71.
  16. Filmography
  17. Another Country, dir. by Marek Kanievska. UK, 1984.
  18. The Company of Wolves, dir. by Neil Jordan. UK, 1984.