Still from Pippi Longstocking

Children’s films in Forest Row 2013-14

This season we have some superb films at the very special Sunday afternoon showings starting in November which are not to be missed.  No one will be disappointed.  And that includes the very young and the young at heart.

First, there is When the Whales Came, which will be shown on 10th November at 3pm.  The film is adapted by Michael Morpugo from his own 1995 novel, Why the Whales Came, and has a wonderful cast including the late Paul Schofield, Helen Mirren and David Threlfall.  I read the book about 10 years ago, and fell for it to such an extent that I wanted to rush to the Isles of Scilly to immerse myself in the captivating landscape.  We realised this ambition a few years later and were not disappointed.  We even managed to meet Michael Morpurgo at a book signing!

The film is a faithful adaptation which speaks powerfully of our responsibility to the natural world. The setting is Bryher, one of the least inhibited isles, in 1914. It is wild, beautiful and unspoiled and adjacent to the uninhabited and mysterious island of Samson.  Daniel and Gracie are best friends in this small community, who all struggle to make ends meet.  Daniel gains confidence when he and Gracie befriend the Birdman (Paul Schofield). The climax at the end will have everyone at the edge of their seats.

After the festivities and indulgence of Christmas it will be time for another indulgence.  Bring all the family to see the extravagant dottiness of Dr Dolittle, which will be screened on 12th January 2014 at 3 pm.  In this charming musical legendary actor Rex Harrison gives one of his best screen performances as the resourceful, lovable Doctor, while Richard Attenborough as the circus owner, Albert Blossom, is a scene stealer. The message at the heart of the story is uplifting and the film has a wonderful escapist appeal.  The locations are also stunning.

Another classic book adaptation will be screened on 9th February at 3 pm. This film, the unmissable Emil and the Detectives, is based on the eponymous popular German children’s book by Erich Kästner, and is the first and arguably the best of the many film adaptations.  The screenplay was written by Kästner himself in collaboration with the legendary Billy Wilder.  One of the first German sound films, Emil and the Detectives provides a fascinating glimpse of Berlin before Nazism and before it was destroyed during the Second World War.  Although the film has subtitles, it should be relatively undemanding for young people to follow as the story is action packed and the film score, following the tradition of recent contemporary silent films, reflects and accentuates the drama.

Our last young person’s and family film is the loveable Pippi Longstocking, which you will be able to see on 9th March 2014 at 3 pm.  If you’re a fan of Pippi Longstocking and Inger Nilsson (who might have been born for the part), then hurry along.  It is very funny, fast-paced, and with never a dull moment.  In the film, Pippi Longstocking (Inger Nilsson) rides into town on a spotted horse and a monkey on her shoulder. Much to the delight of two neighbourhood children, Annika and Thomas, Pippi moves in next door to an extremely unconventional Victorian home she calls Villa Villakulla. With superhuman strength and the courage to take on bullies and other hapless scoundrels, Pippi leads her new friends on a series of memorable adventures.

I think you’ll agree that we have something for everyone.  So don’t forget to come to the village hall on those dates.  Then just sit back and we’ll provide the popcorn, drinks and wonderful entertainment.