The Cinema of Childhood is a special season of films presented by Mark Cousins and Filmhouse. Sparked in large by Cousins’ documentary A Story of Children and Film and the fact that many of the films Cousins featured were either unavailable in the UK or remained rarely seen; Cinema of Childhood is both a celebration of children in world cinema and a rare opportunity to screen some fantastic films. Many of the films made available through the season are only available for a very limited time and BFFS is thrilled to be able to offer 11 of these titles for non-theatrical screenings thanks to Filmhouse. Here we present an introduction to each of the films available. Don’t miss this chance to introduce some wonderful, poetic and joyous family films to your community cinema.
Here we take a quick look at each of the films available:
Bag of Rice | Mohammad-Ali Talebi | 1998 | Japan, Iran | 80 mins
Available until 6 April 2015
Desperately bored at home 4 year old Jairan calls on her elderly, and partially blind, neighbour to escort her across Tehran to buy rice. An innocent enough plan, obviously, doesn’t go according to plan. Riffing on comedic road movies Bag of Rice gradually grows into something much more profound.
The Boot | Mohammad-Ali Talebi 1993 | Iran | 60 mins
Available until 6 April 2015
Samaneh spends ages pestering her mother to buy her a pair of red boots. Eventually her mother relents but it’s not long before Samaneh loses one of them and sets out on a journey to recover it. Talebi specialises in investing simple tales with brilliant characters and magical moments.
Children in the Wind | Hiroshi Shimizu | 1937 | 88 mins
Available until 1 April 2015
Sampei, the leader of his gang of friends, is usurped by the son of the same man who has prosecuted their father. He is sent to live with his uncle but restlessly plans his escape, and ultimately to find a way to free his father.
Crows | Dorota Kedzierzawsk | Poland | 1993 | 66 mins
Available until 31 March 2017
9-year old Wrona is neglected at home and unpopular at school. Angry and lonely she ‘kidnaps’ a younger girl so she can try at being a parent and together they run away to the sea; but Wrona finds it much harder than she expected to play the role of a mother.
Hugo & Josephine | Kjell Grede | Sweden | 1967 |82 mins
Available until April 2015
Josephine lives on her father’s estate in the country. He is rarely around and there are no other kids for her to be friends. Her only company, of sorts, is Gudmarson, the gardener, who she is afraid of because she thinks he is God (God translates as Gud in Swedish). That all changes when she meets a wild boy, Hugo, who lives in the woods near her house and who turns out to be Gudmarson’s nephew. Consistently heralded as the best Swedish family film ever made.
King of Masks | Tian-Ming Wu | China, Hong Kong | 1997 | 91 mins
Available until 28 February 2015
An elderly magician needs an heir to pass on the secrets of his magic masks but having had no children, he adopts himself a grandson from a peasant. But the child is hiding a secret and when the magician discovers it he’s furious and only the child’s ingenuity can resolve the crisis.
Little Girl Who Sold The Sun | Djibril Diop Mambéty | 1999 |Senegal, France, Switzerland, Germany | 45 mins
Available until 10 April 2015
Sili, a disabled girl, is optimistic and free-spirited and is determined to sell newspapers, even though it’s a boy’s job. She ends up highly successful much to the irritation of her male rivals but Sili won’t let their jealousies get in her way.
Moving | Shinji Sômai | 1993 | Japan | 118 mins
Available until 27 March 2015
Renko’s parents are getting divorced and she doesn’t know how to react. She starts acting out; playing with fire and holding herself hostage, but also starts to feel sympathy for the shy girl in her class whose parents are also divorced. She’s by turns spiteful and wistful, angry and sympathetic – and through her tumultuous experiences comes to learn how to grow up. A bravely honest and accurate film about adolescence and how we adapt to forced changes.
The Unseen | Miroslav Janek | Czech Republic | 1997 | 53 mins
Available until 1 March 2015
A documentary filmed at a blind school demonstrates the kids remarkable talents. Some are musicians, some bike riders and some are even photographers – taking pictures of their experiences that sighted people can describe back to them to remind them of what they’ve done. An extraordinary testament to the resilience and adaptability of children.
White Balloon | Jafar Panahi | Iran | 1995 | 85 mins
Available until 1 February 2015
A masterpiece about a little girl who won’t take no for an answer. Razieh wants a new goldfish to celebrate the Iranian New Year, even though she’s already got several. But tricking her mum into giving her the money is just the start of her adventure. What’s a white ballon got to do with it? You”ll have to wait to the end to find out.
Willow & Wind | Mohammad-Ali Talebi | Iran, Japan | 1999 | 81 mins
Available until April 2015
Written by Abbas Kiarostami this is a masterpiece of tension from a delightfully oddball source. A young boy breaks one of the school windows while playing outside; the kids can’t concentrate because the rain’s getting in so the teacher tells the boy he’s not allowed back into class until he’s fixed the window. And so begins a daring trip across the countryside as the boy carries a large pane of glass back to school during a storm.
There’s loads more information about each of the films, including essays, over on the Cinema of Childhood site.