Teenagers didn’t always exist. That’s one of the first things you’re told in Matt Wolf’s new documentary Teenage, a hypnotic meditation on the rise of youth culture from the end of the 19th century to the first half of the 20th century. The film was written by Jon Savage and based on his book Teenage: The Creation of Youth Culture 1875-1945, and it’s full of incredible found footage, old photos, and unearthed home movies made by German Swing Kids. This isn’t a dull, academic dissection of youth—it’s part poetry, part punk manifesto about the birth of youth culture.
Today we have convenient labels like Millennials, Gen Y, and Gen [...]