Tuesday, January 15, 2008

All the Invisible Children (Various, 2005)

All the Invisible Children (Various, 2005)
Rating: 6.9

This film was made to benefit UNICEF and the World Food Program. It consists of seven shorts revolving around child protagonists and deals with different social issues. The reoccurring theme of bickering or nonexistent parents is seen throughout.

"Tanza" directed by Mehdi Chafer
Rating: 7.3

A beautifully shot story about an African boy toting a machine gun with a group of other children during civil war. The unforgettable final scene takes place in a schoolhouse as Tanza plants a bomb and longs for happier times with his family and classmates. Unfortunatley the children's acting is poor, but luckily there isn't much dialogue.

"Blue Gypsy" directed by Emir Kusturica
Rating: 5.3

This story follows Uros, a boy regaining his freedom from a juvenile prison, bur realizing being locked up is easier than life on the outside. Kusturica's film is a too light for my taste, as much of of the comedy is slapstick and the themes have been done to death. The cultural elements are the most interesting thing to take away from this one, although they are mostly rehashings of his more worthwhile feature films.

"Jesus Children of America" directed by Spike Lee
Rating: 3.1

The most didactic of the bunch, Spike Lee's film plays out like an after school special. Rosie Perez and Andre Royo play the drug addicted, AIDS infected parents of Blanca who is also infected. They deliver good performances, however the rest of the acting is embarrassingly bad.

Bilu and João" directed by Kátia Lund
Rating: 8.4

An adorable and optimistic story about a homeless boy and girl who venture through Sao Paulo with a wooden cart collecting recyclables to sell to a local shop in order to scrape by.

"Jonathan" directed by Jordan and Ridley Scott
Rating: 9.6

By far the most moving and interesting piece, Ridley Scott and his daughter Jordan examine a war photographer's imagination as he is haunted by his experiences. While walking through the woods to clear his mind, the protagonist envisions himself as a child, playing a fantasy war game with his friends. The film compares the middle class bliss of friendship and camaraderie with that of the war orphans struggling for survival. I could actually see this being expanded into a feature. It works well as a short too, but ends abruptly as the narrator quotes something about "friendship multiplying good and dividing evil." Kelly Macdonald and David Thewlis star in this.

"Ciro" directed by Stefano Veneruso
Rating: 5.8

Stereotypical thieving children anecdote ending with a gorgeous carousel scene.

"Song Son and Little Cat" directed by John Woo
Rating: 5.1

Cliché ridden comparison of a spoiled rich child and a girl living in poverty.

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