When we think of rave culture, images often come to mind that feature bright strobe lights and vibrant hues. But what if this scene were captured on film?
In the late 90s, filmmakers found success with films that explored rave culture. While some critiqued it critically, others simply celebrated its hedonistic inclusiveness.
Nowhere is an intense film with an array of looks, psychedelic narrative and some captivating magic realist moments. Part of Gregg Araki’s Teenage Apocalypse trilogy, Nowhere pays homage to the joyous spirit of rave culture that spanned from late ’90s through to the next millennium and beyond.
It’s impossible not to love this captivating journey through Manchester music that inspired rave culture in the UK. Plus, it’s a comedy that will have you laughing, dancing and reexamining your own relationships with alcohol and drugs.
Steve Coogan stars as Tony Wilson, manager of the legendary Hacienda nightclub and co-founder of Factory Records. He’s a bit of a masochist and can’t seem to stop drinking, dancing and flirting. Additionally, Coogan is an incredible actor – but best of all you get to see him as a DJ!
This soundtrack is an eclectic medley of 90’s sounds – you’ll hear songs by Radiohead (just before their OK Computer album was released), nihilistic trance that was popular during that time, Skrillex’s ear-splitting trap music and EDM sounds in abundance.
Some of the more notable cameos include Rose McGowan, Shannen Doherty and Traci Lords. All three portray characters who are slightly different than what most people know or have heard of, making Nowhere an intriguing look at queer identity and acceptance.
At the same time, it offers an insightful examination of rave culture’s hedonistic and socially inclusive nature and how it has affected young people’s lives. This film is an example of a film that can be rewatched years later with still having an immense effect on you.
As a tribute, Kenzo commissioned Araki to make a short film for their Spring/Summer 2017 collection that recasts some of the same actors with more contemporary wardrobe. It’s easy to imagine it being shown in some of the same locations where Nowhere was originally shot.
It’s an intriguing look back to when movies weren’t always safe for young audiences and a chance to consider the future of gay and trans representation in cinema. Additionally, this was an important moment in the rise of independent filmmaking, featuring one of its most influential films about gay youth, friendship and drug use.
For a fun and whimsical movie night, look no further than The Emperor’s New Groove (2000). This Disney animated film was originally intended as an intense dramatic musical based on The Prince and the Pauper, but ultimately turned into an entertaining 78-minute comedy adventure. Now available on Disney+–a streaming service offering unlimited downloads of all Disney movies and TV shows–this beloved animated classic can be streamed anytime you wish!
At the 2001 Sundance Film Festival, director Greg Harrison achieved success with this movie; it was his first feature-length endeavor after making music videos and documentaries about San Francisco’s rave scene.
The story follows an uptight, sour writer who takes Ecstasy at a rave with his brother. He meets an attractive raver named Leyla (Lola Glaudini), who helps him cope with his experience. The film was screened at many other festivals but Sundance in particular proved particularly memorable; winning multiple awards there.
This film’s characters were drawn from the real-life raver community in San Francisco. The cast consisted of kids who had attended these events. Harrison managed to shoot the entire project within 24 days – no small feat for a low budget independent production with such tight deadlines.
Another key factor that contributed to the success of this film was its focus on the personal experiences of partygoers. At that time, rave culture had only just started becoming mainstream and few films about it existed at all.
Furthermore, the story was written and directed by a longtime member of the San Francisco rave community, guaranteeing that it would be authentic to life and easy for viewers to relate.
The Emperor’s New Groove is not your typical family film, but it is still an entertaining journey with a unique animation style. Plus, it features some well-known actors and voice actors including Sting.
The Emperor’s New Groove is an enjoyable 78-minute animated adventure that boasts an 85% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It makes a great movie to watch with your kids and boasts an original storyline not often seen in Disney movies.
The Rave (2001)
In the early 1990s, DJs played at illegal dance parties known as raves. These events featured electronic dance music dominated by electronic beats played on large sound systems in warehouses or clubs with large audiences; many ravers also engaged in light-oriented activities such as glowsticking, glowstringing, gloving and light shows.
Ravers often wear traditional rave clothes, but some choose to dress in a more daring manner. Their costumes may feature lights such as LED flash-lights or blinking strobe lights, plus there are light-up hats, masks, and goggles which can be donned by the partygoers themselves.
Rave culture is also notable for its use of drugs, particularly ecstasy. This substance is taken to get high while dancing and often referred to as “rave drugs.” In addition to ecstasy, other substances like cocaine, heroin and hallucinogens may also be found at raves.
Rap culture originated in England, but the earliest American raves took place in New York City under Frankie Bones’ leadership. By the late 1980s, rave culture had spread westward with Seattle becoming a major center for it.
As more and more ravers flocked to events around the globe, several films were produced that captured their energy. Kylie Minogue and Ben Mendelsohn star in Sample People (1998) as young Australians who embark on an unforgettable weekend of partying in Sydney.
Sample People, despite its budget-conscious status as an indie film, effectively captures the vibrant youth culture. It features an eclectic cast and plot lines that eventually come together to form an intricate web of dodgy deals, guns and drugs.
This film is a timeless classic that continues to inspire raver culture today. It stands as testament to the early days of ecstasy use in rave culture and also illustrates the political climate at that time, marked by anti-racism protests against discrimination against minorities. Furthermore, this movie serves as an excellent example of how filmmakers can utilize technology in creating stories that blend reality with fiction.
Rave Review (2001)
In the late 90s and early 2000s, rave culture was in full swing and Hollywood eagerly cashed in on it. This created an abundance of quality films featuring wild party scenes, drugged up debaucheries and more – perfect fodder for film buffs and socialites to sift through in search of something new. We’ve curated our picks without any particular order – a must see for anyone looking to take the ravings out of the night and relive those good ol’ days – your biggest challenge will be selecting which ones are truly exciting!