mid-century maunderings for men who know better
As a child, I was always jealous of kids whose parents let them look after themselves rather than be babysat. I was never allowed to go to those kids’ houses. As I grew into adolescence I heard all kinds of rumours about what went on. Now I know. In this film a pair of teenagers are left by their modern parents to fend for themselves while the parents sail their boat around the world. Occasionally the Dad’s brother drops by to smoke and drink with the teens, but they are more or less left to their own devices. Smoothmodernist is no spoiler, so you will have to imagine the suite of tragedies that befall the happy family or see it yourself. It’s not as bad as you think, but then again, its worse than you think.
If you suffer from respiratory illness, this is not the film for you. Seen through a constant brown haze, this film will have you gasping and wheezing well before you’ve worked out what it all means; the transmigration of souls or a journey through a squalid and denuded landscape into the heart of the new century’s economic powerhouse. A widowed Father and son who spend their days collecting firewood are tasked by their deceased wife/mother speaking through the son to rescue an old tree. And they say its grim up north.
It’s no surprise this was audience favourite at MIFF 2016. A claymation feature set in a home for forgotten and unwanted children My Life as a Courgette is funny, poignant and angry. It achieves a rare balance in its depiction of children’s issues using a children’s medium without leaning too heavy on the pathos or the slapstick. Children’s animated films are too often formulaic with heavy doses of sentiment laced with plenty of ‘adult’ jokes to keep the parents entertained. This is not a children’s film, but it certainly could be watched by the family without anyone having to compromise.