Rebel Without a Cause (Nicholas Ray, 1955)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXRgAXU1-T4&w=420&h=315]

Between childhood and adulthood, “Rebel Without a Cause”, the classic film that portrayed the first generations of teenagers.
It was one of the first movies – as well as one of the last ones – James Dean did. “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955) premiered after the death of the actor, and it would enshrine as one of the most emblematic films of the 50s and would make Dean one of the first and most famous teen icons.
Nicholas Ray’s film, with and elegant and precious cinematography and a naturalist but precise staging, focuses on the characters and the plot in which they are involved. Jim Stark (James Dean) is an unstructured and confused teenager that shortly after moving to LA with his family is confronted with one of the high school bullies. As he tries to fit in the new neighborhood he meets John (Sal Mineo) and Judy (Natalie Wood), but despite his efforts to avoid disputes and conflicts, the problems continue. At home Jim says he wants to do what’s correct, but the incomprehension of his parents only gets to accentuate his anxiety and instability. The character of James Dean and all the teenagers in the film are the reflection of the American society of those years, the refection of a generation that was called youth and that was between childhood and adulthood. These adolescents were looking for answers to questions that their parents had never faced and therefore they could not answer to them, so – as the film very well portrays – the teenagers acted rebelliously.
Rebel Without a Cause 3
During the 40s and 50s these new generations gave birth to teen culture, youth claimed for new forms of entertainment and society adapted and remodelled based on this demand. Hollywood would not be less, and responded with new genres and forms that transformed cinema altogether. “Rebel Without a Cause” is one of the films that highlight this transformation, which would bridge the gap between classic and modern cinema. The key to its success lies in the emotional identification it caused on the generations it portrayed, and that is why it is – along with James Dean – one of the strongest established teen emblems of the history of this film genre.
“Rebel Without a Cause”, still being a classic film, meant a reformist push for cinema. Its regenerative nature and significance in the audience reveal its historical importance, and that is why it is considered an icon both for youth and for cinema.

By Nicolás Solís

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Rebel Without a Cause – Nicholas Ray, 1955

Rebel Without a Cause 1

Entre la niñez y la madurez, “Rebelde sin Causa”, el clásico que retrató a las primeras generaciones de adolescentes.
Fue una de las primeras películas – y también de las últimas – de James Dean. Estrenada tras la muerte del actor, “Rebelde sin Causa” (“Rebel Without a Cause”, 1955) se consagraría como una de las películas más emblemáticas de los años 50 y convertiría a Dean en uno de los primeros y más célebres iconos adolescentes.
La película de Nicholas Ray, con una elegante y preciosista fotografía y una puesta en escena naturalista pero milimétrica, centra su atención sobre los personajes y la trama en la que se ven envueltos. Jim Stark (James Dean) es un adolescente desestructurado y perdido que poco después de mudarse a Los Angeles con su familia se ve enfrentado a uno de los bully del instituto. Intentando encajar en su nuevo vecindario conoce a John (Sal Mineo) y a Judy (Natalie Wood), aunque a pesar de sus esfuerzos por evitarlo las disputas y conflictos continúan. En casa Jim asegura querer hacer los correcto, pero la incomprensión de sus padres no hace más que acentuar su ansia e inestabilidad. El personaje de James Dean y de todos los adolescentes del film, son la imagen reflejo de la sociedad americana de aquellos años, de una generación nueva a la que llamaron juventud y que se encontraban entre la niñez y la madurez. Estos jóvenes buscaban respuestas a unas preguntas que su padres jamás se habían formulado y que por tanto no podían responder, y como bien retrata la película los adolescentes explotaban en rebeldía.
Rebel Without a Cause 2
Durante los años 40 y 50 estas nuevas generaciones dieron pie al nacimiento de la cultura teen, la juventud reclamaba nuevas formas de entretenimiento y la sociedad se fue adaptando y reformulando en base a ello. El cine Hollywoodiense no iba a ser menos, y respondió con nuevos géneros y formas que transformaron el séptimo arte por completo. “Rebelde Sin Causa” es una de las películas que ponen de manifiesto dicha transformación, la cual serviría de puente entre el cine clásico y el cine moderno. La clave de su éxito reside en la identificación emocional que causó en la generación a la que retrataba, y es por ello que es uno de los emblemas adolescentes – junto a James Dean – de mayor arraigo en la historia del cine de dicho género.
“Rebelde Sin Causa” , aún siendo un film de cine clásico, supuso un impulso renovador para el cine. Su carácter regenerativo y la trascendencia en el público ponen de manifiesto su relevancia histórica, y es por ello que es considerada un icono del cine y de la juventud.
 
Por Nicolás Solís

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