Thought-provoking fare at film fete
By Gautaman Bhaskaran
HYDERABAD, NOV. 16.
The six movies screened till now at the International Children’s Film Festival, now into is third day here, were not only cinematically absorbing, coming as they were from a variety of places, but they also provoked one into thinking about the issues of the day. Yet, these entries were not boring and pedantic. They were not even preachy and profound.
Mr. Raymond Jafelices animation, Babar, the King of Elephants, from Canada may have been a mere strip of moving cartoons, but there was, in each frame, a sense of purpose that nobody could miss.
A calf elephant loses its mother, strays into the city, befriends an old lady and lives with her for a while. But the elephant longs for the forests and eventually returns to become the king of its herd.
The tale may look idyllic, but powerful messages have been punched into it. The cruelty of poaching and the horrors of war — subjects of immense concern today — have been emphasised with splendid lucidity.
Mr. Stewart Raffill’s Grizzly Falls is a 90minute delight, again from Canada, which shows us the importance of a harmonious existence with wildlife. When Tyrone takes his son to hunt a grizzly bear, he is absolutely unprepared for the kind of turn his life would take.
When the man separates a mother bear from her cubs, it does not take long for the animal, known for its intelligence, to “kidnap’ the boy. Narrated with feeling, Grizzly Falls underlines the magnanimity of the beast, whose gentle ways with the child are not only a treat to watch but are also a revelation.
Mr. Dany Deprez, Belgian director, focusses his camera away from animals. Eleven-yearold Sophia in The Ball virtually leads a kids’ revolt when the park they use is first turned into a dumping ground and then earmarked for a building complex.
Mr. Deprez, in the course of an interview to The Hindu here on Tuesday, said there could not be a good story without a good concept. “If you do not find a concept, you might complete your screenplay, but would be left with the feeling that there is something missing. A concept is the very soul in a story’s.
The director regrets that children the world over are victims of commercial avarice. “If land is not grabbed from them to build concrete monstrosities, it is used to dump rubbish. It is pathetic to watch boys and girls play on garbage heaps, in a world where their playground is shrinking”.
The Belgian director is also annoyed at the way the administrations handle children. “They are seldom allowed to fantasise and develop their imagination; administrations set up theme parks and ready-made play areas, and these do rob a child of its curiosity, making it slack and sloppy.
Obviously, The Ball enraptured not only the young but the old as well. Mr. Deprez adds that parents were more keen than children on watching this film.
“Probably, I succeeded because I managed to find the soul”. And what a thought-provoking soul it was; The Ball certainly is one example of what young entertainment ought to be.