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Linking Young Minds Together
 Volume 3 | Issue 06 | February 13, 2011 |


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Beyond all Borders

Sameeha Suraiya

courtesy : internet

With a total of 233 films including feature, documentaries and animations from 40 different countries, Dhaka saw another successful International Children's Film Festival celebrated across 15 locations in the city. In the weeklong festivity of some great visual art and meaningful entertainment, Dhaka kids had the rare chance to witness the world beyond theirs. For a week, life was definitely worth the classes and the exams. Most schools organised outings for their students. Kids of all ages were seen queuing up in front of the venues, too excited to stand still. In fact, the festival was not only enjoyed by children. Watching timeless characters and unforgettable stories from around the world no matter which language they spoke brought out the inner child in every adult viewer as well.

Bearing the theme “Future in Frames”, the festival brought together filmmakers, both local and international. Child filmmaker-delegates whose creations featured in the competition segment also attended the event, hoping to find a niche in the world of films when they are older. With the screening of films that would have otherwise never been experienced, the festival had bigger roles, dissolving boundaries and opening a window to the unseen while bringing up thought-provoking messages through each film. Classic as well as contemporary films, some adapted from age-old tales made their marks in each viewer.

La Prophetie des Grenouilles (The Prophecy of the Frogs) is a French animation that was screened on the third day of the festival, surprisingly attracting an audience of a mixed age group. The coming-of-age story held undertones of themes better understood by adults. The award winning director Jacques-Remy Girerd presents a world gone topsy-turvy followed by the prophecy of the frogs to a boy and a girl. The frogs think it is about time they break their vow of silence against humans and warn them that it will rain for forty days and forty nights. Rings a bell? Taking one back to the biblical story of Noah's Ark, the story brings about the ideas of choosing right over wrong, betrayal, death and the ultimate triumph.

Presented in simple yet almost breathing graphics, it is an honest portrayal of the emotional journeys where young people struggle against tough odds towards greater strength of character. The character of Ferdinand, modern day Noah, has to keep his family safe while at the same time, make sure all the animals in his zoo survive. He manages to defy the elements as humans and animals are rushed forth into a vortex of incredible adventure. As hunger grows, so does animosity towards each other, and survival hangs by a fine thread threatened by the looming tension. Through soulful music of his guitar, Ferdinand sings of co-existence and better days.

The 4th International Children's Film Festival undoubtedly created an impact on aspiring filmmakers and paid tribute to the ones whose visual and storytelling mastery are sure to be remembered. In a country where watching movies on the big screen comes as a rare treat, the festival brought together an impressive collection of unique gamut of genres suitable for all children. Hats off to the organisers!

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