Seventeen Series: Film Comment Selects  Director: Joel DeMott and Jeff Kreines, Country: USA, Release: 1983, Runtime: 120
Drugs and alcohol, unwanted pregnancy, racial tensions: this groundbreaking and “controversial” documentary examines these (and other) pressure points of American culture through the eyes of troubled, working-class teens in Muncie, Ind.
By turns harrowing and hilarious, the film achieves a disarming level of intimacy with its subjects. Its raw truths were too much for PBS, who refused to air it, spurring the filmmakers to release the film theatrically in 1984, the same week The Breakfast Club opened. Today it stands as a detailed record of middle America in the early ‘80s, a highlight of the direct cinema movement, and a timeless expression of empathy for youth and its growing pains.