The 15 Best Movies About Cruel Youths

By Reggina Zervou

“Each film brings out the moralist in the director and makes each of them a filmmaker of cruelty,” stated Truffaut in his introduction to Bazin’s “The Cinema of Cruelty.” Iconic auteurs, starting with Bunuel and his “Andalusian Dog,” have stressed the importance of cruelty in the shaping of society and released films that deployed their artistic efficacy in showing ways of suffering and making suffering happen.

Being cruel is not synonymous to being violent: violence has hurting or causing death as a consequence. Cruelty plays more with intentions and the absence of feelings, such as compassion and sympathy. It is mostly a sentimental lacking that can be expressed even by violent acts.

However, in this list, it is not the consequences but the intentions that count. That is why one won’t find films such as “Murder by Numbers” or “Benny’s Video” where emphasis is given to the act of killing. Not even “La Haine” or “If,” where the use of violence has obvious social motives.

Childhood, adolescent and youth cruelty has always been dealt by literature and cinema as an anomaly. The first years of somebody’s life are supposed to be the most tender ones, the age of innocence. So cruel underaged people are faced either as monsters or young creatures which hard living conditions led them to cruelty. When we talk about groups of people, explanations are tried to be found in the social contouring.

The protagonists of these movies are either cruel youths or victims of other young people’s cruelty. Their motives vary, and the explanations about the cruelty vary as well, according to each director’s perspective. Some focus on individuals, others treat violence as a social phenomenon, some go far beyond than that.

So here we go with Cinema of – Youth – Cruelty.

15. The Bad Seed (Mervyn LeRoy, 1956)

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From:: Taste Of Cinema