This season we have some really fascinating and unmissable films featuring young people in film, some of which will be shown on Sunday afternoons for the Children and Family matinees and others as part of the regular Friday evening films. A lot have been inspired by Mark Cousin’s documentary, A Story of Children and Film, which we are showing on October 14. Five films discussed in the documentary are being shown in full: Tomka and His Friends, Hugo and Josephine, Palle Alone in the World, Willow and Wind and Bag of Rice. Two of these films, Hugo and Josephine and Palle Alone in the World are being shown as a Sunday matinee as part of the Children’s film strand, as a double bill on Sunday 14 December 2014 at 3 pm. The other films which will be shown for children and families are: Pippi Longstocking, Lepel, and The Mystery of the Wolf.
Our first young person’s and family film is the loveable Pippi Longstocking, which had to be postponed during last season due to circumstances beyond our control. It will now be shown on 23 November 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. As one reviewer has said – “If you haven’t read the books, you will want to after seeing this film.”
The next children’s film is the classic Swedish film from 1967, Hugo and Josephine. It is the story of a lonely but well-cared-for daughter of a rural pastor who makes friends with Hugo, a wild, free-spirited boy who lives in the woods. Despite being from different social classes they embark together on a series of adventures, sometimes joined by a kindly wise giant of a gardener. So in mid December with the nights so long and dark make sure you come along to watch this beautiful film so that you can soak up the golden sunshine of a Swedish summer. An IMDB reviewer has said that, “It is the only film I have ever seen that succeeds in re-creating what it actually feels like to be six or seven years old.” If you are six or seven come along and enjoy the film. If you are older do come as well and feel young again!
On the same bill we’re also showing another Scandinavian masterpiece, this time from Denmark, Palle Alone in the World. This 25 minute short which has practically no dialogue is an all-time classic of charm and wonder and earned the director the Short Film Palme d’Or at the 1949 Cannes Film Festival. A little boy suddenly wakes up one morning to find that everyone has disappeared. He is totally on his own. The deserted city of Copenhagen becomes his playground. The city is depicted with an authentic sense of realism, yet it is completely free of people, which gives it an almost dreamlike quality. Is this a dream that you have had? To be able to go wherever you like and do whatever you want without anybody interfering? If it is then come along and enjoy the fun.
On 11 January 2015 at 3 pm we are delighted to be showing the delightfully entertaining Dutch film, Lepel, (English translation: Spoon), which was first released in 2005. It’s the story of nine year-old Lepel whose parents have left him to go on a hot air balloon world tour. He stays with granny Koppenol, who is mean and who constantly exploits him for domestic chores, in her buttons shop and even as an accomplice in the department store where she steals buttons from clothes. After he gives her the slip he is befriended by a tough girl, Pleun, and the department store becomes their temporary home. Schoolmaster Bijts is also looking for him, but only for his Mathematics talent for an academic schools contest. Max, a shy lovelorn salesman in the store tries his best to find a mother for Lepel, with surprising results. This is a magical film about dreams becoming true. Children will love it, but there are layers in there that will please adults as well.
Our last children’s film, Mystery of the Wolf, to be shown on the 8 February 2015 at 3 pm, tells the story of 12 year-old Salla, a girl who has been abandoned by her mother and falls under the protection of a herd of wolves. After being found and returned to society, Salla still feels a strong connection to wild animals, and as she grows has to decide between her loyalties to her family and to the animals that once protected her. But it is not only a story about saving animals from danger, it is also a story of a feisty girl who stands up for herself and others, human and animal. This Finnish film with English subtitles, which was released in 2006, will appeal to children from 7 or 8 upwards, but the beautiful landscapes and some notable performances by its cast should brighten up any afternoon for anyone. The crowning point for me is the photography. You get a real sense of what it is like to live in Lapland. And the performance by Tiia Talvisara who plays Salla is exceptional. In 2007 the film was voted best feature film at the London Children’s Film Festival.
So, if that isn’t enough to delight everyone on Sunday afternoons from November to February, on top of that we’re providing pop corn, cake, friendship and fun!