The 57th International Film Competition of Children´s Films has one joint theme. It is a family. Family seen through children's eyes in different angles of view and perception.
The opening film of the international competition is related to the main theme of the festival – Days of Swedish Cinema - the film by Petter Lennstrand Up the Sky (Sweden, 2016). The film, whose main heroes are the little girl named Pottan (her busy parents leaves her in front of the gates of the scrap yard mistakenly taken as a holiday camp with the horses) and a group of weird puppets referring to well-known characters from the series Sesame street! Children and adults will have fun. Although it is the director's first feature, a simple story full of unconventional humor proves that even a film for children can be made cleverly and for a whole family.
Coproduction film Cloudboy (Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, 2017) by director Meikeminne Clinckspoor looks at the family topic through the eyes of twelve-year-old Niilas, who lives with his father and does not remember much about his Swedish mother. In the summer, however, he must go to Lapland, where his mother lives with a new family among the indigenious Sami people who make their living by breeding reindeers. Visual imagery with fantasy elements offers broadening of little festival viewers´ horizons and a recognition of the beautiful Lapland nature and many unconventional customs of the original Sami population in northern Sweden.
The Czech participation in the competition is represented by the winner of the Crystal Bear of this year´s Berlin Generation called Little Harbor (Slovakia, Czech Republic, 2017) by Slovak director Iveta Grófová. Inspired by real events the film is primarily about the family. Ten-year-old Jarka is nothing more than her mother´s friend. But it would be better if mother was really a Mom. Jarka's dream is to have a real family and also a house somewhere by the sea. The dreamlike fantasy world Jarka and her friend Kristián create is shown to a child's audience differently than they are used to.
Another film strongly referring to family values is the film Oskar´s America (Norway, 2017). Tornado Iversen's film debut depicts the story of a small Oskar whose dream is to spend summer holidays with his mother on horseback in the American prairie. However, an alcoholic mother who finally decides for the treatment sends her unsuspecting son to her father in the country, explaining that she is going to work in America. Oskar plans to escape from his grandfather's hostile home and meets the local fool whose best friend and companion is a white pony. A bitter comedy with fantastic elements of extraordinary friendship takes place in the Norwegian countryside.
Heartstrings (France, 2016) by Michel Boujenah, with the charm of French films, describes one life stage of a talented twelve-year-old cellist Marie who suffers from a degenerative eye disease. But she wants to keep it as a secret at school, and no one, except for her new friend Victor knows about it. Marie wants to finish the school year and take part in the admission procedure at the prestigious music academy. Although the film's theme is seemingly serious, it is narrated with ease and insight. The strong motivation of friendship of an excellent student and class outsider gives a good example and proves that it may not be utopian.
The Alpine road movie The Mountain Miracle - An Unexpected Friendship (Germany, Italy, 2017) by the young German director Tobias Wiemann takes us to the mountain clinic for children with asthma. Amélie is a very stubborn girl, and although her illness directly threatens her life, she doesn´t allow anybody to tell her what to do. She decides to leave the clinic despite the wishes of parents and doctors and climbs to the mountain ridge. The new friend Bart, whom she meets on her runaway changes her view of the world and her thinking about the illness. This risky trip will turn into a story about the power of friendship and the first love of children in the real backdrop of the beautiful Alpine landscape of South Tyrol.
Thanks to two films, children will have a chance to see the life in exotic countries, specifically Asia. The first one is from India. Two brothers from the poor district want to taste the real pizza from the newly opened restaurant, which is inaccessible to children from the slums. The guys do everything for the desired piece, and on their quest they experience lots of obstacles and pitfalls, but also find the true family values. Samit Kakkad Indian Half Ticket (India, 2016) gets your attention with great filmmaking, acting performances, dynamic editing and pace, accompanied by a pack of catchy songs, a feature so typical of Indian film.
The main character of the Iranian film Number Four (Iran, 2016) by Mehran Malakouti undergoes a rapid transition from childhood to adulthood after his father dies at sea. He voluntarily takes over the responsibility of his mother and younger brother. He refuse the old habit of his mother getting married again in order to ensure financial support. His rebellion takes him to the local smugglers and he starts to work for them. Now it is a matter of life and death.