- Film Guide
I’m going to Berlin!!! With Angela, who has a new bionic arm post-wrist breakage, but that is not what this blog is about.
Specifically, I’m attending the Berlinale, and even more specifically than that, I’ll be checking out their Generations program, which features films that, by European standards, are suitable for young audiences. We need some movies to program the 2012 Milwaukee Children’s Film Festival, you know? So Milwaukee Film is sending me, lucky me!!! Here’s what I’m particularly excited to check out.
If you saw The Crocodiles at last year’s Milwaukee Film Festival, you might recognize the name Christian Ditter. His latest directorial effort, Wickie and the Treasure of the Gods, will screen as part of the LOLA@Berlinale program, since it’s nominated for a LOLA—the German version of the Academy Awards. (The Crocodiles won best Children’s Film in 2009.) Ditter reminds me of Robert Rodriguez, in that he crafts solid action movies for kids the way Rodriguez did with the Spy Kids franchise. Wickie, a Viking coming-of-age tale, looks like it will be a rowdy and effects-heavy adventure that’s fun in all the right ways.
Also nominated for a LOLA is The Crocodiles: All for One, the third film in that franchise. This time, the gang works together to help a Crocodile in need of an organ transplant. A new director is at the helm, yet Ditter shares screenwriting credit. The first film was so beloved by Milwaukeeans that I probably need to check out this one too.
I’m very curious about The Monkey King, a 3D version of the 1960s animated Chinese classic. The stills look beautiful, but when directors revisit beloved films, there’s usually some backlash from cinephiles. I’m excited to go in fresh, though, as there’s little I love more than eye-poppingly gorgeous animation.
Actually, there appears to be a ton of great animation this year, and Zarafa looks terrific as well. Based in part on the true story of the first giraffe to be exhibited in Paris (her name was Zarafa), this film focuses on Zarafa’s friend, a little boy named Maki. After Zarafa’s capture, Maki makes his way from Africa to Europe in the hopes of saving his animal friend, only to find himself overwhelmed by the fanfare. I’m a sucker for animal stories, and Zarafa sounds like it’s destined to be a classic.
The final mention goes to Electrick Children. This American film directed by Rebecca Thomas will also screen at SXSW, so I’m guessing its Generation 14+ category may qualify it as adult fare in the US. As far as I can gather, a naïve girl thinks she gets pregnant from listening to a cassette tape, so she runs away with a Culkin dressed as a skater. If Immaculate Conception doesn’t warrant a little teen angst, I don’t know what does. This film sounds right up my alley.
I’ll report back at the end of my trip with favorites from the Berlinale. If I love even half as many films as I’m looking forward to, it’s going to be a terrific couple of weeks!!!