Unaccompanied Minors: Views of Youth in Films from the Collection
July 22–August 14, 2012
Presented in conjunction with the gallery exhibition Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900–2000
From the colorful, often Dickensian image of unaccompanied, soot-smudged children (aka urchins, ragamuffins, gamins, guttersnipes, street rats, or lil’ imps) roaming the streets of 19th-century industrial cities to contemporary reports of meninos de rua (street children) in Rio de Janeiro, throwaway kids in American urban centers, and youth displaced by civil war in Sierra Leone, prematurely emancipated children remain a distressing sociological phenomenon—and a compelling cinematic subject.
The moving picture also developed as a product of industrial innovation in the late 19th century, and the medium used daily life as inspiration for the earliest actualités and narrative films. Not only did the motion picture capture the derelict sociological status of youth emancipated by choice or fate, the camera also recorded children at play, at school, pursuing physical education, and creating youth-centric cultures. In the cinema, children are often positioned as taciturn witnesses to trauma and domestic events; sometimes they emerge with their psyches intact and sometimes they don’t.
The works selected for this exhibition—drawn primarily from MoMA’s collection—trace the image of the emancipated child, as central subject, as witness, and sometimes as catalyst for change.
Related Film Screenings
Les filles ne savant pas nager (Girls Can’t Swim)
2000. France. Anne-Sophie Birot. 102 min.
The Night of the Hunter
1955. USA. Charles Laughton. 92 min.
Na cidade vazia (Hollow City)
2004. Angola. Maria João Ganga. 92 min.
A Scary Time
1960. USA. Shirley Clarke, Robert Hughes. 16 min.
1953. USA. Ray Ashley, Ruth Orkin, Morris Engel. 75 min.
A Day at the Beach
1951. USA. 10 min.
The Illustrated Mum
2003. Great Britain. Cilla Ware. 101 min.
Days of Heaven
1978. USA. Terrence Malick. 93 min.
1997. USA. David D. Williams. 87 min.
Your Children’s Meals
1948. Great Britain. Alexander Strasser. 12 min.
A Perfect World
1993. USA. Clint Eastwood. 138 min.
Ladri di biciclette (Bicycle Thieves)
1948. Italy. Vittorio De Sica. 85 min.
Lord of the Flies
1963. Great Britain. Peter Brook. 90 min.
The Village School
1940. Great Britain. John Eldridge. 11 min.
1981. Brazil. Hector Babenco. 124 min.
2001. Mozambique. Orlando Mesquita. 6 min.
Les quatres cents coups (The 400 Blows)
1959. France. Francois Truffaut. 93 min.
Public School Exercises and Recreation
1911. USA. Approx. 12 min.
Zoo in Budapest
1933. USA. Rowland V. Lee. 82 min.
La petite vendeuse de soleil (The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun)
1998. Senegal. Djibril Diop Mambéty. 45 min.
1972. Czechoslovakia. Hermina Tyrlova. 8 min.
1916. USA. Lloyd Ingraham. 73 min.
Children Who Labor
1912. USA. Ashley Miller. 14 min.
Alice in Wonderland
1948. Great Britain/France. Dallas Bower, Vincent Perane, Lou Bunin. 96 min.
Kinder, Mütter un Ein General (Sons, Mothers, and a General)
1955. Germany. Laslo Benedek. 110 min.
The Virgin Suicides
1999. USA. Sofia Coppola. 97 min.
1971. Great Britain. Nicolas Roeg. 100 min.
2004. USA. Todd Solondz. 100 min.
1935. USA. Irving Cummings. 75 min.