Skip to main content

CONFESSIONS OF A SUBURBAN GIRL

UK, 1992 (MIFF 1993, Documentaries)

Director: Susan Seidelman

The suburb was Huntingdon Valley, Philadelphia; the confessions are those of Susan Seidelman, director of Smithereens, Cookie, Desperately Seeking Susan and She Devil; and the subject is teenage reminiscence 1960's style.

Seidelman takes a detour from Hollywood — back to the old neighbourhood — to conjure up this delightful doco-drama, which mixes slick reportage, interviews with school friends and 60's memorabilia, with black and white recreations of teen memories. These visual anecdotes bear witness to her statement that she lionised the tough kids in town, admitting she became a director in New York to get actors to realise her suppressed 'bad girl' fantasies (a Jewish girl who really wanted to be like the cigarette smoking Italian chicks from the other side of the shopping mall). Clips from her films are used to revealing effect, directly illustrating Seidelman's confessions — movie buffs will enjoy the juxtapositions, its pure myth making, auteurist theory territory.

When the suburbanites and Seidelman (the escapee) get together, the film becomes an entertaining all-girls-together gossip session. They discuss dieting, shopping, growing up, boys, bowling, drive-ins and sex — and in doing so allow the director to lightly touch on the era's social changes: feminism, revolution, changing perception of marriage and family.

Confessions of a Suburban Girl is a wonderfully visual and humourous documentary - Seidelman's first, a fun-filled look back at what dreams and expectations of life girls had in the early sixties, and what those women think today. It charts the development of that socially designed phenomenon, the suburban housewife and also opens out the themes and obsessions in Seidelman's own work, particularly her female characters.

See also...

AILEEN WUORNOS: THE SELLING OF A SERIAL KILLER

Between 1990 and 1991, Aileen Carol Wuornos, a 35-year-old prostitute, killed seven men. The FBI termed her "America's first female serial killer". ... British documentary filmmaker Nick Broomfield ... More »

THE IMPOSTER

“That old idiom about truth being stranger than fiction is an understatement when applied to Bart Layton's enthralling documentary.” - Hollywood Reporter ... In 1994, a 13-year-old boy vanished ... More »

HIS BIG WHITE SELF

“I never thought in my worst nightmares that 14 years later I'd feel compelled to track down His Big White Self.” - filmmaker Nick Broomfield Nick Broomfield's 1991 documentary, The Leader, His ... More »

KAFI’S STORY/NUBA CONVERSATIONS

Kafi's Story centres on Kafi, a young Nuba man from the remote mountain region of Sudan. His story begins on a bus bound for Khartoum where he hopes to get a job and save enough money to buy a dress ... More »

A PLACE OF RAGE

... ... Part history lesson, part inspiration, part call to action, A Place Of Rage is an engaging portrait of Black activists Angela Davis and June Jordan. Focusing on the role of women in the ... More »

OVER THE THRESHOLD

Over the Threshold is about intermarriage between Japanese and Westerners. The filmmakers are a husband and wife team who met during their studies at Britain's National Film & TV School in London ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director