Saturday, October 18, 2008

London Film Festival Day 4 - KIDS + MONEY

KIDS + MONEY is a thirty minute documentary short by Lauren Greenfield about Los Angeles teenagers attitudes to money. In a series of disarmingly frank interviews teens from different income brackets discuss how far they think or worry about money and how far material possessions dictate their social status and happiness. The subjects range from a poor hispanic kid who seems thankful for what he little he has - after all he at least has food and a fridge - to a rich young girl whose parents have endless domestic staff but who has the self-awareness to feel bad when her best friend can't afford prom. In the middle we have the wannabes who dress above their income to impress - hassling their parents for new clothes so they can vamp like kids from The O.C. - thinking that popularity lies in looking good rather than being nice. Most frightening is the degree to which parents enable these habits, fuelling their kids' excesses. After all, they're as status obsessed even when they should be old enough to know the financial consequences.

The resulting documentary is tightly edited, scintillating viewing and by far the best thing I have seen in the festival to date. It's all the more relevant at a time when the world's market economies are in the midst of massive wealth destruction after an orgy of debt-fuelled excess.

KIDS + MONEY played Sundance and London 2008.

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