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LUCAS 2008 - 31. INTERNATIONALES KINDERFILMFESTIVAL 7.09. - 14.09.2008 resport by Raffaele Annunziata

It was the first time for me to take part as a juror to a children film festival, and my ideas were not so clear about it..
I had seen lots of films for children but not all were so interesting. I thought that "children's film" not necessarily meant "stupid film”.

And it was exactly this that struck me about the films in the competition, their need to always give sort of messages, the confusion of today's children, their inability to communicate with the adults, despite all the new technologies that permit, or at least give the impression to, communicate with everyone, in every moment and place.
In this regard, I think that the film that best shows this situation is No Network of the Icelander director Ari Kristinsson, winner of the jury special price FICC, that talks about the heart of the question directly from the title. The protagonist, an Icelander child with divorced parents, is from the very beginning of the film, a specialist of computers, a little hacker able to interfere with the school web site in few minutes.
Evidently he is a child who tries to express his pain causing problems to the school system, somehow responsible of his situation. The history goes on following the progressive isolation of the main character, transported from his world, perfectly connected with the rest of the planet thanks to technology, to another universe made of snow, ghosts, magic and polar bears, so mundane (ore ultra mundane.. ), but certainly more real, true, that the one before.
Because a ghost can be more real than a computer and the nightmare it causes can be won just with big breath of reality, and fear.
In fact sensational developments are not missing, typical of horror movies, and periods of pure tension, clearly perceptible in the concentrated eyes of the children-spectators-
The topic of detachment is central also in other movies, especially in My very best friend, the winner movie, thanks to the French director Isabelle Doval.
In her work, already presented to Roma's Festival, she faces with extreme delicacy an extremely serious topic, especially for a child: the constraint to follow the parents in their working wanders, forcing the children to live their world, and especially in this French movie, to also live the best friend. I think this is one of the worst thing that we can wish for a ten-twelve years old child.
Also because the friendship between the two protagonists is really intense, the little Maxime and Esteban really feel like brothers, they spent entire days together, at the end they will share the same bed to be more time together and to prepare the plan to make Esteban not to leave.
It's interesting to observe that in the movie the children find a sort of salvation in the art, and in the theatre in particular, to try to resist to the "imposition" of the parents and maintain their friendship. I obviously invite you to watch it to know how it ends...
Me and my two great collaborators of the jury Ficc, Hauke Lange Fuchs and Ursula Haas, we had the pleasant but the heavy task of assigning the Don-Qujiote Award to one of the 10 films in competition.
The choice was not easy because all the works in competition were of great artistic value but in the end the choice went on Phoebe in Wonderland director of the American Daniel Barnz. The film manages to perfectly combine the interests of Phoebe, the little protagonist of the story, trying to interpret in the best way Alice in the school performance and forced to live among the Wonderland of fiction, and everyday household made up of sisters spite, envy and friends Parents in crisis.
Driven by the affectionate teacher-director of the performance, the small Phoebe "jump" ever more intensely in the dimension of the fantastic tale, so that at the end she confuses real life with that of Wonderland. So a sort of reaffirmation of the cathartic powers of theatre, albeit a child, how can it be a play school.
These were the films that have surprised me most during the festival for their depth, their ability to understand the soul of children, to read in their eyes the interest on the adult world, as complex and full of problems apparently incomprehensible and futile. Because is a problem typical of every age, and it's wrong to consider children's problems not important teen-age troubles, and is the same for their happiness, friendship, sufferance, sadness..
I think that this can be the recurrent topic in every work in the competition, the necessity to reaffirm the condition of been teenager, the importance of being it and the difficulty!
I personally agree with this and can only hope that everyone will worry a little more about the others, maybe we'll start again to watch things like when we were kids..
I can only end with thanks to la Ficc for the wonderful opportunity they gave me and all the person that helped me during my week in Francoforte.
Raffaele Annunziata