At just 24, Charlie Lyne holds an enviable position in the fast paced world of both film and journalism. The man behind ‘Ultra Culture’, the strong willed film blog that started in 2008, has gone on to become a home entertainment columnist for The Guardian and sit alongside Claudia Winkleman on the BBC’s Film programme.
Most recently, Charlie has moved into documentary film making with Beyond Clueless – a teen movie homage that had its debut at SXSW. In the midst of his tour around the UK promoting the film, he chatted with The Edinburgh Reporter:
Beyond Clueless had its world premiere at SXSW last Spring. Since then its travelled the globe to places such as Jerusalem and Rio de Janeiro. Do the reactions differ between audiences? Do you find the presence of the featured films are similar despite wide cultural differences?
Weirdly it doesn’t seem to make much difference where we show it. America is very, very good at exporting its teen movies to the world and so whether you grew up in the UK, Israel or Brazil, there’s every chance you lived your teenage life vicariously through these films.
As a journalist, you’re used to critiquing film rather than creating your own. Did that become a factor when putting together Beyond Clueless? Does it make your eye a lot sharper?
I certainly hope so! Beyond Clueless is really a work of film criticism as much as anything else, so it wasn’t as much of a departure for me as it might have been. But then I think the line between film and film criticism is always a blurry one. Whenever you make a film you’re commenting on the films that came before it — Beyond Clueless just does that very explicitly.
For featuring in its title, Clueless actually features very little in the film. Was this a conscious decision? Was your intention to educate viewers on some lesser known works rather than deconstruct the most famous ones?
I don’t know about educate! But the smaller, weirder films are certainly the ones that appeal most to me. Clueless is a brilliant teen movie but it knows itself so well that there’s not much you can say about it, whereas something like Idle Hands is — by all accounts — a mess, but it has so many fascinating little threads running through it that you can start to coax out themes that aren’t immediately apparent, and weren’t necessarily intentional.
A lot of the films featured in Beyond Clueless are either fizzy teenage comedies or tongue in cheek horror films. When talking about young people in film a lot of people mention either Harmony Korine or Larry Clark, whose work isn’t touched upon often. Is this due to their rather weird or grotesque look upon teenagers? Do you see them as perverse?
I like Larry Clark and I love Harmony Korine, so I was pleased to be able to get a bunch of their movies into the film, but I think their work speaks for itself a lot of the time. First and foremost, I was trying to speak on behalf of those movies that have traditionally been overlooked by critics, and even audiences.
You’re working with the talented Joe Stephenson and Yasmin Paige on Chicken. How are things getting along with that?
My involvement with Chicken was quite limited (I was co-editor) so I feel quite comfortable singing its praises, especially those of Scott Chambers — an amazing newcomer who plays the lead role. It’ll premiere later this year and hopefully be making its way around the UK soon after that.
Beyond Clueless is released in the UK on January 23rd. It has a preview screening + Q&A with Charlie Lyne at the Cameo Picturehouse on Thursday 22 January 2015. Tickets can be booked here