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American Graffiti (12A) + Intro by Peter Krämer

American Graffiti (12A) + Intro by Peter Krämer

George Lucas’s second feature American Graffiti was released fifty years ago.

This low-budget nostalgic teen comedy, whose only ‘stars’ were a former child performer from a 1960s sit-com and a legendary disc jockey, opened on 1 August 1973 in a single movie theatre and then was very slowly rolled out across the United States. It stayed in cinemas until 1976 and was re-released two years later, in the process becoming one of the highest grossing in American film history, while also garnering numerous critical accolades. To the soundtrack of a radio show featuring classic rock ’n’ roll and pop songs from the late 1950s and early 1960s as well as the patter of the inimitable Wolfman Jack, the film’s story deals with a single night at the end of the summer of 1962.

Mostly driving around town in their cars, the film’s young protagonists are looking for fun and excitement, love and sex, challenges and friendship, while also making important decisions about their future. This is a film not only about youth but also about what adulthood might mean, not only about American small-town life in the early 1960s but also about the more universal experience of transitioning from one life-stage to another.

This screening will be introduced by film historian Peter Krämer, author of American Graffiti: George Lucas, The New Hollywood and the Baby Boom Generation (Routledge, 2023)

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