Blog Archives

School’s Out: Lessons from a Forest Kindergarten

No classroom for these kindergarteners: In Switzerland’s Langnau am Albis, a suburb of Zurich, children four to seven years of age go to kindergarten in the woods every day, no matter what the weatherman says. The filmmakers follow the forest kindergarten through the seasons of one school year to make their documentary film “School’s Out:…

Tom und Hacke

In this new adaptation, Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” is seamlessly transported to 1948 Bavaria, post-World War II. Both those familiar with the story and those new to this classic American tale will delight in the characters of Tom and Hacke — two adventurous, fatherless boys who experience the thrill and terror of…

A Shine of Rainbows

“A Shine of Rainbows” resembles a live-action Disney film from the 1950s, with its boundless enthusiasm for gentle adventuring, warm domestic bonding and tragic turns of fate. It serves as a nice change from films focused on the ills of modern youth or weighed down by bathroom humor. Tomas is a shy eight-year-old who’s been…

Stella and the Star of the Orient

Exploring her grandmother’s old villa, 10-year-old Stella is suddenly catapulted 100 years into the past on a fantastic time journey. She lands in the same villa and meets Clementine, a girl her own age, whom she recognizes as her great-grandmother. But there is no time for reminiscing: The family faces ruin, the villa is to…

Viva Cuba

In a tale akin to “Romeo and Juliet,” the strong bond between two children is threatened by their parents’ differences. Malú is from an upper-class family and her single mother does not want her to play with Jorgito, as she thinks his background coarse and commonplace. Jorgito’s mother, a poor Socialist, proud of her family’s…

Twigson in Trouble

When a child makes a twig his best friend, a parent may worry. Fear not, for this twig (Twigson) has Junior’s best interests at heart! Twigson is married to a white birch that just had a baby (“He has my face but your bark”). When the Daddy Twigson disappears, Junior needs to use imaginative ways…

My Neighbor Totoro

Played at 2014 PCFF to celebrate the 25th anniversary of one of Japan’s masterpieces of animation. One of the most endearing and internationally renowned films of all time, a film that Roger Ebert called “one of the five best movies” ever made for children, “My Neighbor Totoro” is a deceptively simple tale of Satsuki and…

Side by Side

Fearing the possibility of being split up because of their grandmother’s illness, a young brother and sister embark on an unforgettable journey through breathtaking landscapes of rural Scotland. SIDE BY SIDE is a rare and genuinely heartfelt story about two very different siblings growing closer because they must depend on one another during an unsettling…

Pim & Pom: The Big Adventure (Pim & Pom: Het Grote Avontuur)

Created from a long-running Dutch comic strip, Pim & Pom are two adorable cats that love getting into mischief. When their doting owner invites her two nieces for a visit, little do Pim & Pom expect that the girls have in mind a different kind of “cat-napping” than they are used to. Will Pim &…

On the Way to School (Sur le chemin de l’école)

Many films have been made about kids going to extraordinary lengths to avoid school. This stunningly shot documentary (Cesar Award Winner 2014) captures the stories of four children (Kenya, Patagonia, Morocco and India) and their herculean efforts to get TO school. Instinctively, they know that their well-being, and in many ways survival, depend on knowledge…