MIFF picks for kids and teens
Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) curates a program of entertaining and thought-provoking cinema for a youth audience with Next Gen. Here’s what’s on offer for kids and teens in 2016.
We’ve also compiled a list of literary-inspired films, shared our staff picks, and prepared a quick ‘at-a-glance’ guide for the time-poor.
RECOMMENDED FOR 8+
France | English
In a fantastical universe where the Sun and the Moon are protected by fabled warriors and powerful magic, the undersized but spirited Mune is a most unlikely hero. When he’s unexpectedly crowned the new Guardian of the Moon, a demon of the underworld steals the Sun and it’s up to Mune and his friends Sohone, the Sun Guardian, and Glim, a girl made entirely of wax, to save the world and get it back.
China | Mandarin
Young artist Ma Liang lives in the picturesque Baihua (Hundred Flower) Village, where he enjoys a simple life. One day, a celestial being notices Ma Liang’s talent and gifts him a brush that magically brings to life whatever it paints. Delighted, Ma Liang dreams of being a hero, but soon learns that magic can have consequences. When a greedy imperial general invades the village, he learns about Ma Liang’s magic brush and becomes intent on gaining its power for himself.
RECOMMENDED FOR 10+
Kubo and the Two Strings (Gala screening)
USA | English
Kubo is the son of a legendary samurai warrior, but is himself a humble, clever boy who lives to tell stories to the people in his seaside town. When he accidentally summons a spirit from the heavens, one that is hell-bent on fulfilling an age-old vendetta, Kubo goes on the run. Armed only with his shamisen, a magical musical instrument, he must battle gods and monsters to save his family and discover the secret of his legacy.
France, Denmark | French
There are many expectations put upon Sasha, a 15-year-old aristocrat living in the Russian court towards to the end of the 19th century; travelling to the Arctic to find her missing grandfather is not one of them. While everybody else has long since assumed Sasha’s grandfather died while attempting to find the North Pole, Sasha decides to take action and embarks on a high seas adventure to find him – and the Davia, the unsinkable ship he captains
Germany | German
Like any other 15-year-old, Mara just wants to fit in with her peers, and find her place in life. But schoolyard bullies and a weird, embarrassing mum are soon the least of her problems, because Mara’s just learned that she’s a mystic seer; that the ancient legends are all true; and that the fate of the world rests on her shoulders.
RECOMMENDED FOR 12+
France | French
When shy but lovable 13-year-old Benoît arrives at a new high school, it’s as if he has to begin his life again from scratch. After trying and failing to make it with the cool kids, Benoît finds his lot thrown in with the school’s resident outcasts. Bound by a love of bad jokes and ill-advised pranks, the reluctant friends make for an unlikely gang, but in the face of all that adolescence has to throw at them, having each other might just be enough.
Japan | Japanese
On a whim, tight-knit teenage foursome Chie, Sattsun, Ichinose and Fumiko decide they absolutely have to attend a gig featuring their favourite band: real-life J-pop superstars Creephyp. The only problem is that the concert is in Tokyo, and they’re in the rural town of Kita-Kyushu, half the country away. Undaunted, the girls jump on their bikes and start riding, unwittingly kick-starting a massive cross-country adventure.
France | French
Her parents and teachers think she’s a pain; the feeling is mutual. Her older sister has a diploma, her younger sister is an over-achiever, she’s repeating a year at school. Life is never boring for 13-year-old Aurore – even if she’s constantly wishing that her problems would simply go away. She could always fall in love or join a band – what could go wrong?
France | French
When Adama’s older brother leaves their West African village in the middle of the night, the 12-year-old is determined to find him. Defying his elders, Adama ventures beyond the forbidden cliffs, across combat-ravaged Europe and onto the battlefields of the First World War with the tenacity that comes from a sibling’s bond, as well as an unwavering spirit of adventure.
France, Italy, Belgium | Italian
Banana is blessed with more self-belief than talent, and is missing goals both on and off the field. His parents are drifting apart; the girl he likes is out of his league; his older sister is marrying the wrong man; his teachers are either mean or indifferent; and worst of all his goal-kicking foot is shaped like an actual banana. In the face of obstacles like that it would be easy to just give up, like so many of the adults in his life, but Banana refuses to accept defeat.
RECOMMENDED FOR 14+
China | Mandarin
When a shocking series of crimes rock a small town in China in 1991, detective Qu Zhicheng is placed on the case. As he tracks the perpetrator, his teenage daughter Su Xiaotong attempts her own sleuthing – a distraction from her adolescent angst, which her mother ignores and her father lectures her about.