It's that time of the year. The Jio MAMI Film Festival is back and this year Half Ticket, the children's section opens publicly. So, Half Ticket film screenings will be open to all who register, and not just for schools. The package includes some exceptional films from across the world, notable for their nuanced storytelling.
There is animation and live action, documentary and feature, fantasy and reality. So, block your dates because good children's cinema is cinema for everyone and what better way to spend time with your kids than share an experience together.
Here's a quick guide if you are short on time and need to select just a few to watch.
Music video director, Olivier Babinet's stylishly shot documentary about the lives of teens, living in some of the most under-privileged housing projects in France, is a complex and moving picture of adolescence, race, class and migration.
The Day My Father Became a Bush
This award-winning film is a powerful take on war. Toda is a 10-year-old girl journeying through fictional countries and across borders, while a war rages on. In an almost-quirky storytelling style, the film follows this strong girl protagonist as she encounters people and situations that reveal how children's lives are impacted by adult choices.
Zaineb Hates the Snow
Another moving documentary that follows Zaineb from the age of 10 to almost-adulthood as she moves from Tunisia to Canada, in the process reflecting the changing structures of family today and what it means to live in a globalized world. Director Kaouther Ben Hania weaves a layered story of our times.
The Indian entry in the competition section, this film by Rohan Deshpande has the most charming child protagonists. Wonderfully directed, the children's performances are sure to steal your heart. In Marathi cinema's current neo-realist style, Pipsi follows the lives of 8-year old Chaani and Balu who decide that Chaani's mother's possible death can be averted by trying to protect a fish they rescue.
Au Revoir Les Enfants
Louis Malle's classic film set in a boys' boarding school in Nazi-occupied France during the Second World War is about the friendship between two boys, one from a wealthy, French family and the other a Jew who is being hidden in the school. A superbly crafted tale about friendship, adolescence, bigotry, fear and loss, many of the ideas in the film are sadly still relevant even 30 years after the film was made.
Mujhse Dosti Karoge
A gem hidden in the archives of The Children's Film Society of India, this film by Gopi Desai is set in the Rann of Kutch and is the story of 9 year old Gul Hasan. Gul's dreams and aspirations take him on a journey that blurs the line between fantasy and reality. His friend on this journey – his camel. The film won several awards including the Best Children's Film at the National Film Awards in 1993.