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Cinema of Childhood at BFI Southbank

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by Bryony Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
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The Art of Being a Child
bfi, cinema of childhood
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When you think about films depicting childhood, what comes to mind? Peter Pan, - the boy who never grew up - The Jungle Book, - living wild and free - ET: The Extra Terrestrial - accepting individuality, and differences?

All these mainstream family films are very good at showing an idealised childhood, and are rightly loved by millions. But everyone knows these films. What about the ones that don't get thrown in the limelight?

The BFI South Bank is dedicating a season to the Cinema of Childhood, but it is not show children's films made by Hollywood. Instead it is focusing on art films directed at an adult audience, that explore the darker threads of growing up. Up until the 28th June, it will showcase films from twelve countries, spanning over several decades.

Tickets are between 6-11.50, and include films such as:

Poland, 1993, 66 minutes

A neglected nine year old girl steals a three year old child, and tries to act as her surrogate mother.

Japan, 1993, 124 minutes

Renko sees her childhood go up in flames when her parents announce they are getting divorced.

White Balloon
Iran, 1995, 81 minutes

A little girl wants a pet goldfish, and will do anything to get it.

Tomka and His Friends
Albania, 1977, 78 minutes

When Nazis occupy Albania, and build a camp on Tomka's football pitch, he and his friends decide to spy on them.

Long Live the Republic
Czechoslovakia, 1965, 134 minutes

A boy tries to survive in a Czech village, caught between the Nazis and the Red Army in WW2.

Czech Republic, 1996, 53 minutes

A blind boy takes photographs of the world he cannot see.

Forbidden Games
France, 1952, 86 minutes

After a refugee massacre, an orphan girl is adopted by an eccentric peasant family.

The King of Masks
China, 1997, 91 minutes

An old magician wants to pass his tricks onto an heir, but has no children. He buys a peasant child, but soon finds that the boy has a secret that he finds hard to deal with.

Hugo & Jospehine
Sweden, 1967, 92 minutes

Josephine meets a wild boy who lives in the woos. They quickly befriend each other and go on adventures.

Children in the Wind
Japan, 1937, 88 minutes

Sampei has an idyllic life - that is until his father is accused of fraud and sent to prison. Sampei runs away in an attempt to prove his father's innocence.
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Why? Fun for film lovers
When: Until 28th June
Phone: 020 7928 3232
Where: BFI Southbank
Cost: 6-11.50
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