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 early screening of the films is arranged with a young Island cineaste, because 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. There is no hyperbolic windblowing designed to get everyone to see the movie. In fact, fewer people showing up might mean more popcorn for the young reviewers.
This week’s review is from the desk of Suzanne More-Straton.
The Curious Garden (Dir. Soup2Nuts / U.S.A. / 2010 / 10 min.)
The Curious Garden is about a young boy named Liam, who has an adventure one day when he decides to walk up a little stairway in the center of an old, gray and dreary city. The stairway leads to an abandoned railway track. The city around him has no trees, no gardens, and no color. Suddenly Liam sees a small patch of wildflowers growing out of the railroad track. The flowers are wilting and dying. And so the next day Liam comes back with a watering can and cares for the flowers. This movie was wonderful and made me feel happy inside, because it showed how one small person can make a difference in the world. Because of Liam, the dreary gray city is now as colorful as a rainbow. This film is perfect for any age child.
Zhiharka (Dir. Oleg Uzhinov / Russia / 2006 / 12 min.)
There is a very scary fox who is in the form of a girl with a long braid, wearing a blue dress. She chases a tiny girl three times who luckily escapes until the third time when the fox does catch the little girl, taking her to her den in the forest. The music is great, but very frightening. The story is a lot like Hansel and Gretel (the oven part), which I do not think little children should see, even though the story had a happy ending. The drawings and pictures in this movie were beautiful and were done very well.
Hungarian Folk Tales: Martin and The Cursed Princess (Dir. Maria Horvath / Hungary / 2002 / 8 min.)
This animated movie is about three sons who set out to get new clothes. At a magic tree they separate and take their own paths. The main character, the youngest son, becomes employed along the way by a frog who is really a princess in disguise. The story is traditional and old-fashioned. It does have a happy ending, but some bits may be scary.
A Night at the Mill (Dir. Aurore Casalis / France / 2009 / 7 min.)
After watching Night at the Mill, I felt cozy and peaceful. It is a suitable film for very young children. Tiny mice find their way to a working mill at nighttime. One small baby mouse is forced to stay at home because of a cold. But when the baby mouse sees that a light is on in the mill, he decides to go, too, even though he was not supposed to. He finds all the other mice making instruments and playing music together. It was an adorable movie and it showed how to be creative and clever even if you’re a mouse.
Truck Farm (Dir. Ian Cheney / U.S.A. / 2010 / 4 min.)
This film used real actors in it, it is not an animation. It was a really short film in fast motion about a boy who plants a garden in the back of an old black Dodge truck. The garden grows and grows and becomes the town’s grandest garden. The fast motion makes this part great and fun. The sound track is sung by the boy who planted the garden. Age appropriate for all children.
Murphy’s Shorts (Dir. Todd Hemker / U.S.A. / 2010 / 2 min.)
I thought this movie was odd because it didn’t really tell a story. I also didn’t care for it because it embarrassed a little boy. Murphy’s Shorts shows a boy who looses his bathing suit when he dives off the diving board into a pool. Along comes a mother bird who takes the bathing suit away and makes a nest for her babies with it. The best part of the film was the music — because it was playful and made the story be alive.
Cello (Dir. Tatiana Kurnaeve / Russia / 2008 / 7 min.)
This cute little animated movie is perfect to show children of all ages. Cleo is a small girl who plays the cello. When she sees a little fairy on her windowsill, she follows her and finds a group of fairies, elves and animals playing beautiful music in a meadow. Cleo loves what she hears. When she returns home and wakes up the next morning, Cleo finds that she can play the cello better than ever before. This film is inspiring for young musicians, and shows how, if you hear someone playing an instrument who is better than you, you must learn from them without feeling jealous, and become greater and better for yourself. I loved this film.