Each week the folks at Cinema Circus show a series of short films on Wednesday evenings at the Chilmark Community Center. The films begin at 6 p.m. but at 5 p.m. the circus, complete with jugglers, face painters, stilt walkers, food and music, gets underway.
An advanced screening of the films is arranged with a young Island cineaste, plucked from the age bracket of the target audience. In a world with few certainties, the kid critic is the critic to trust.
Unfettered by economics, societal pressure, perhaps even good taste, the kid critics have no agenda. They have no filters nor is there any chance of hyperbolic windblowing designed to get everyone to see the movie. In fact, fewer people showing up might mean more popcorn for these young reviewers.
This week’s review is a double billing by brother and sister team, Gabriel and Hannah Markey, ages six-and-a-half and eleven, from Bentonville, Arkansas.
SPLAT THE CAT (Dir. Soup2Nuts / U.S.A. / 2010 / 9 min.)
Gabriel: This film is about a cat named Splat who goes to school for the first time. He does not want to go to school but he goes and he stands up for what he believes — his friendship. This film reminds me of my first day at school. I was excited. I liked this film and give it five stars out of five.
Hannah: Splat the Cat was a good movie with an excellent lesson. It was Splat’s first day at school and he was nervous. He kept trying to make excuses. Finally he went to school and he brought pet mouse, Segamour. At school he learned cats chase mice. When he opened his lunchbox, Segamour came out and all the cats chased him. But Splat was the only cat that didn’t chase Segamour. Then Segamour showed all the cats that mice are nice. I recommend this movie for younger kids.
LOVE BUG (Dir. Kate Candler / U.S.A. / 2009 / 7 min.)
Hannah: Love Bug was a very cute movie. It was about two kids named Turtle and Maddy. Turtle was trying to build up enough courage to ask Maddy to the Spring Fling. The movie was funny and very cute. I enjoyed it a lot. Watch to see if Turtle succeeds.
Gabriel: The Love Bug is about a young boy named Turtle who wanted to ask his friend Maddy to the Spring Fling dance. This movie made me feel awkward because it is a love story and Turtle is lovey-dovey. A little “coo coo” but I liked it. I give it four stars.
THE GOLDEN CALF (Dir. Lajos Nagy / Hungary / 2002 / 8 min.)
Gabriel: This film is an animation about a king’s son and daughter who go out to find their love. This film is in a different language and has subtitles. It made me feel like I was teleported to another country. For a love story, this film is okay. I rate it 3 out of 5.
Hannah: The Golden Calf was very cool. It was in a foreign language which I thought was awesome. It was about a prince and princess going to find their true love. They left their castle and set out to other countries. This movie was one of my favorites. Watch it to see if they do or something stops them.
MARCEL THE SNAIL WITH SHOES ON (Dir. Dean Fleischer-Camp / U.S.A. /2010 / 3 min.)
Hannah: This was my favorite film out of all of them. This movie is about Marcel the snail. Marcel tells about his life and what he does for fun. This was the funniest movie. It is a two-minute film full of laughter.
Gabriel: Marcel is a claymation film about a talking snail with feet. You have to laugh. It is a really funny talking snail. I couldn’t stop laughing. It made me want to jump through the roof with happiness. I give it 5 stars. Shooting stars, because I really liked it.
WHO’S THERE (Dir. Vanda Raymanova / Slovakia / 2010 / 9 min.)
Gabriel: This animation is about two boys (I think brothers) who create a house to protect themselves from a wolf. Then, they make an even bigger house to get away from each other. They fight like me and my sister and brother. This movie made me laugh when the house fell apart and they ran from what they imagined to be a wolf. I felt bad when the brother and sister were not nice to each other. I liked this movie. I give it five stars out of five.
Hannah: Who’s There is about two boys. The older boy thinks he keeps seeing a wolf. The two boys build a house to keep the wolf from eating them. But this film was very confusing. The characters weren’t defined. This made the film hard to understand. It was okay.
THE NORTH STAR (Dir. Gary Goldberger, John Lechner and Peter H. Reynolds / U.S.A. / 2010 / 15 min.)
Hannah: The North Star was an okay film. It had a good message, but it was boring. In The North Star a little boy walks into a forest. He keeps getting visits from animals telling him to follow the signs. Then he learns he needs to follow the stars. The film was also confusing because the narration did not match the animation.
Gabriel: This animation is about a boy on an adventure in the forest. Someone told the story, but I was confused because the storytelling did not match the pictures. I was bored with this movie. I give it two stars out of five.
After the children’s films, there will be a screening at 8 p.m. of the Sundance award winning documentary, Buck, which follows the journey of Buck Brannaman, the man on whom the book and movie The Horse Whisperer were based. Mr. Brannaman eschews the violence of his upbringing and teaches people to communicate with their horses through leadership and sensitivity.
The director of the film, Cindy Meehl, will attend the screening and afterwards discuss the making of the movie and participate in a question and answer sesson.
Tickets are available at tmvff.org or 508-645-9599 or at the Chilmark Community Center starting at 4:30 p.m. on the day of the show. Admission is $14, or $7 for members of the festival (you can join at the door).