Moving images embody a versatile medium that holds an easy charm and relatability, rarely surpassed by other art forms. This year’s Children’s Day at IVWS was celebrated with a special screening of short films organized in collaboration with concept partner LXL Ideas. It was a novel and vivifying initiation for young learners (Grades III to X), helping to develop a taste for foreign language films. The segmented arrangement of films was deliberate and ensured age-appropriate viewing.
Films like Halim, Button, Ahmad’s Hair, Celebration, Gokurosama, The Children’s Mayor were among those that drew spontaneous applause from the young audience.
Austrian film Halim (language: German) pulled at heartstrings with the touching portrayal of an unusual friendship between a shy boy and an artist in search of his family. The film lingers with its metaphorising of freedom in captivity, and spellbinding engagement with friendship and familial bonds.
It is through Button that the simple pleasures of childhood are reanimated and the theriacal beauty of love reinforced. In a day and age when generations are alternately hailed and vilified for trusting technology as fix-all, the animated film explores the rejuvenating power of memories and tactile connection. An evocative scene remains that of the little boy flicking game panel buttons obsessively while his façade is blocked from view with mounting game tiles. His life, initially transformed into the mechanized space of a game screen, is reclaimed by hope and own effort.
Quite like the response at the International Documentary Film festival Thessaloniki, Ahmad’s Hair emerged the audience favourite at IVWS. Both this and TIFF-feature The Children’s Mayor are Susan Koenen’s directorial ventures. They delve frankly into concerns of racial guilt, and concerted endeavours to survive, negotiate, evolve, even lovingly requite in the awareness of a sheltered status.