Gregg Araki’s Teen Apocalypse Trilogy
Born in Los Angeles to Japanese American parents in 1959, Gregg Araki entered high school concurrently with the emergence of punk rock and a cultural moment well-suited to his teenage angst. Araki enrolled in USC film school in the early ’80s, where his student projects were inspired by new wave music, the DIY culture of underground art, and filmmakers such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Jim Jarmusch, and John Waters. Considered an integral part of the New Queer Cinema movement in part established at the 1992 Sundance Film Festival, where his breakout feature The Living End presented unfiltered gay male identities on screen, Araki and contemporaries Isaac Julien, Todd Haynes, Sadie Benning, and Marlon Riggs would shape a new, rebellious language for queer cinema. Araki’s three subsequent features, which comprise his wildly influential Teen Apocalypse Trilogy, would inspire an entire generation of outcasts and queer folks to embrace themselves and throw a middle finger to anyone who dared judge them.