30 November 2012

This year was the 56th BFI London Film festival, which ran officially from 10-21 October. It showcased some great films - and where there are great films, FACT is there. You may have recognised some of the films at FACT from the playlist for the festival. Perhaps you even had the chance to enjoy them yourself.

This week FACT hosted two screenings of films that debuted in the Film Festival. FACT provides a venue screenings to be held for local schools. This means the films can be seen as they were intended to be - on the big screen! Events like this create opportunities to educate young people in film, a chance most schools are not lucky enough to have.

Two films were showcased here this week. The first was Kauwboy, a Dutch drama which followed the story of Jojo, a young boy whose family consists of his short-tempered father and his absent mother, who finds purpose in caring for a young jackdaw fallen from the nest. Against all odds he raises it to full strength, and the pair develop a bond in which each is dependent on the other. Films like Kauwboy prove that cinema with the simple themes of family, sweet childhood 'romance' and friendship can still stand out and create a gem of a film such as this.

The second film was Beasts of the Southern Wild, an American film with not only an interesting concept, but also a fresh new director and actors for which this is their first film. It dictates a future in which parts of America are severely flooded. This isolates one small community in particular, (dubbed 'the Bathtub' by its inhabitants) who live in a shanty town and hunt and fish for their next meal. Our guide through this hostile and raw world is not through the silken prose of one of their civilised neighbours beyond the floodwall, but through the rural twang of our child protagonist 'Hushpuppy'. Her simple yet insightful words describe as their home is flooded by a storm and her fascination and fear of the idea of 'Aurochs', a huge ancient beast frozen in the melting ice caps. The audience is encouraged to question if the title refers to the animal-like way in which Hushpuppy's people live, or the Aurochs that pervade her dreams and thoughts.

In all honesty, as a student I know these wonderful opportunities may merely be viewed as a 'sit-off' day - to begin with. But after viewing these masterful and thought-provoking films, I saw many emerge from Screen 1 moved - the younger children smiling in wonder, and some of the older ones being teased by fellow pupils for getting teary-eyed.  

… Besides, isn't that is the beauty of cinema? It can move people of any age- make them think, stay with them forever. This is why it's so important to expose the younger generation to film, and why it is so brilliant that places like FACT exist - to do just that!

If you get a chance, I would certainly recommend these films to watch yourself! I'm certain you will be as inspired and entertained as the viewers were this week.

If you saw either of the films or want to share your thoughts on the power of film, please leave your comments in the box below!