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 Post subject: Re: Children's films?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 3:24 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2007 4:58 pm
Location: Monster Island
Criterion's Thief of Bagdad's good too.


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 Post subject: Re: Children's films?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 3:29 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 10:02 am
Philadelphia Story and Bringing Up Baby would go way over the head of a four year old, I suspect.

If she liked the other Miyazakis, she would probably like Howl's Moving Castle. I think Castle in the Sky is pretty accessible, too.

I assume you're looking for movies that they'll enjoy, you'll enjoy, and which contribute a little more than just mindless entertainment. So I'm going to be pretty flexible with my recommendations.

The Muppet movies. I can't remember all of them and how good each one is, but Muppet Treasure Island cannot fail to please.

I quite liked Labyrinth and The Neverending Story when I was a lad, although I was maybe seven when I saw them. Still, I think they could appeal to a four year old, Labyrinth especially. Dark Crystal may be a little too scary.

Disney in general, but especially the early stuff: Fantasia, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, The Jungle Book, Mary Poppins.

The upcoming Coraline movie looks like it has potential, too. The book was meant for older readers (7-10, probably), but the movie may work for a 4 year old.


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 Post subject: Re: Children's films?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 3:35 pm 
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I have a seven year old daughter at home and some dvds we've enjoyed this year are the aforementioned Morris Engel Collection (especially Little Fugitive), Keaton's The General, and the Feuillade serials Les Vampires and Judex (which now rank among her all time favorites, although your daughter is too young for them I'm sure). A perfect match would be the Lotte Reiniger Fairy Tales collection BFI released a few months ago.

When she was about that age we watched Renoir's The River together, which held her fixed attention, primarily due to the sisters' relationship I think. I've been meaning to revisit it with her. Meet Me in Saint Louis was another big hit and we've watched it several times together, on both the big and small screen.

A Night at the Opera was alot of fun too. Most children would love Harpo, and while the jokes were often over her head, it was the insinuation of them, anti-authoritarian, something naughty, that she appreciated. There's also a more straight forward plot than some of the earlier, more anarchic films, which helped.


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 Post subject: Re: Children's films?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 6:19 pm 
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I showed some kids Buster Keaton's One Week once and they got a kick out of it. (They're really into trains.)


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 Post subject: Re: Children's films?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 10:00 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 8:54 pm
karmajuice wrote:
Philadelphia Story and Bringing Up Baby would go way over the head of a four year old, I suspect.

Bringing Up Baby might have a shot. It's got a fair amount of physical comedy and simple concepts such as "got the wrong car" and "digging lots of holes to find a bone".

I have to agree about The Philadelphia Story, though. Relies almost entirely on fast talking wit on topics that most (if not all) 4 year olds won't be able to follow.



Maybe Laurel & Hardy? They're not silent (like Keaton and Chaplin), but the English dialog is relatively sparse and simple.


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 Post subject: Re: Children's films?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 12:45 am 
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Harold Lloyd's Why Worry (children of all ages just HAVE to love the sweet-natured giant who co-stars in this) -- also some of the shorts (like Ask Father).


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 Post subject: Re: Children's films?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:05 am 
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Also a very high recommendation for Ozu's I Was Born But... but, I think it may be a little more appealing to your child when she has entered school, and is better able to sympathize with the young boys routine worries, i.e. bullies and fitting in, boredom with school discipline, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Children's films?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:21 am 
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subliminac wrote:
Also a very high recommendation for Ozu's I Was Born But... but, I think it may be a little more appealing to your child when she has entered school, and is better able to sympathize with the young boys routine worries, i.e. bullies and fitting in, boredom with school discipline, etc.

I was about to recommend this. My 7-year-old loved it.

Also, Chaplin had much better results than Keaton for him.


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 Post subject: Re: Children's films?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:02 am 
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Wow, thanks for all the suggestions!

karmajuice wrote:
I assume you're looking for movies that they'll enjoy, you'll enjoy, and which contribute a little more than just mindless entertainment. So I'm going to be pretty flexible with my recommendations.

Exactly. There is a lot of trash shown on the TV. What I find appealing with Miyazaki's films are for example the strong female characters and often characters that aren't neither completely good nor evil.

I haven't thought so much of showing films with (probably) adults as its main target group. But it is a good idea. Actually both the 4 year old and her sister (2 years) enjoyed parts of Singin' in the rain a lot when it was aired during christmas.

I once tried showing her Circus but we had to stop early in the film when her deep sense of justice protested during the pickpocket scenes in the beginning. ;) But I will definitely try some more Chaplin's and other slap stick oriented films primarily, since she hasn't started learning English yet. But some films will of course work anyway, where the story is easy to follow even without knowing the language (and a parent could always explain parts from time to time).

Thanks again! I will definitely check out the films I haven't heard of/didn't think of.

Please, go on posting if you think of more! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Children's films?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 5:32 am 
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Young children generally like Carol Ballard's "The Black Stallion"


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 Post subject: Re: Children's films?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 10:47 am 
wax on; wax off
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BB wrote:
Criterion's Thief of Bagdad's good too.

Forgot to list this one as this is a big favorite for my kids.

They also enjoyed The Red Shoes somewhat for the dancing. I've shown them several P/P films but plan on holding off on Peeping Tom for the time being.

And of course they love Pixar films (though not Toy Story) and original Disney classics...as well as their lesser sequels, sadly. And that Barbie/Strawberry Shortcake shit. Oh, and Spirit along with anything else with horses--Matt Damon's voice over has got to be about the worst of its kind.

Lotte Reiniger Fairy Tales: I picked this up for them but it didn't really take hold.


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 Post subject: Re: Children's films?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 12:47 pm 
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Some of these are great suggestions that I will try out.

I have two kids as well (1yr & 3 yrs) and I try to expose them to decent and intelligent child entertainment. My oldest loves Miyazaki (especially Spirited Away, Castle In The Sky, and Kiki's Delivery Service) and PIXAR. Yesterday I watched Tati's "Trafic" and my 1yr old was enthralled. I am going to repeat this with "Playtime" and see how that goes.

(Long time lurker, first time poster... so, hello Uncle Leo.)


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 Post subject: Re: Children's films?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:01 pm 
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I'd like to recommend The White Balloon. It is a story told from the point of view of a young girl trying to get money to buy some goldfish and the trials she has to go through in order to get (and hold on to!) some money for them!


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 Post subject: Re: Children's films?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:49 pm 

Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2008 1:55 pm
Location: Toronto
Hm, re: The Wizard of Oz, it's great, but I can't count the number of adults I've talked to who said that they were utterly terrified by this film as a child because of the flying monkeys. (& then there's the notoriously scaaary Return to Oz with the Wheelies and the headless witch/queen!) So I guess it depends how tough your 4-year-old is. (Similarly with the big black thingy in Miyazaki's Spirited Away. But, yes, Miyazaki is wonderful. I think Porco Rosso is the best of the bunch, actually. The kid here also likes non-Miyazaki Studio Ghibli productions--Whisper of the Heart, The Cat Returns, Pom Poko, My Neighbors the Yamadas.)

Our kid (now nearly 11) really loves silent comedy--Keaton especially--as well as the Laurel & Hardy talkies. Some of the Marx Bros that's dependent on verbal play will go over young kids' heads, but the physical comedy will appeal to young ones.

In addition, I'd strongly recommend Fred & Ginger's films. The box set of their films has been one of the things my daughter returns to most. And musicals of all stripes--Singing in the Rain &c.

She also likes screwball comedy (Bringing Up Baby is a good start, & she also has a thing about Carole Lombard) and westerns (Rio Bravo in particular is a favourite), though I suspect those might play best for an older age bracket than you're talking about. Ditto Renoir's The River, which she found captivating.

*

PS: re the Marx Bros: aside from Duck Soup, I like (& the kid likes) the episode of Animaniacs, "King Wakko", which is an homage to Duck Soup.


Last edited by nd on Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Children's films?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:56 pm 
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tojoed wrote:
Young children generally like Carol Ballard's "The Black Stallion"

I saw this at the drive-in when I was 8 and was bored to tears by it.

I think I would have loved Méliès as a young child - short duration, simple effects. And how about Wladyslaw Starewicz? Is she too young yet to induct into the cult of Auntie Mame?


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 Post subject: Re: Children's films?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:23 pm 
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Second the Melies pick. I should have examined my dvds a little more closely before making my initial post!


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 Post subject: Re: Children's films?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:36 pm 
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All the folks whose children enjoy silent comedy should be sure to give Charley Bowers a whirl -- deliriously inventive comedies full of camera tricks and stop-motion animation. There doesn't seem to be much on YouTube, but this will give the idea.

I plan to bring the offspring up on lots of exuberant displays of light, color, and form. Cine-dance, experimental animation, etc. Specifically Robert Breer, Oskar Fischinger, Mary Ellen Bute, Norman McLaren, and possibly some of the more playful things on Kino's Avant-Garde 1 like Les Mystères du Château de Dé. Unseen Cinema and the forthcoming Treasures IV set are treasure troves of the stuff I have in mind, though of course not all of it would be perfect.
I realize that most elementary-school age children would be indifferent to this stuff, but I think if I start them much earlier they'll be interested. I don't plan to have them watching TV, but when I was about 3-5 years old I remember seeing a lot of independently produced short films aired on television. Programming was a lot different back then, especially early cable. Sesame Street, which I watched almost every day, had things like this and this sometimes, and I wish I'd had access to even more abstraction. I believe this kind of art is good for the imagination, at least as far as sitting and looking at a screen goes, which I think is good in small doses.

I like a lot of the other animation being recommended here, especially Frédéric Back and Ladislas Starewicz. How about Images' Masters of Russian Animation series? Wonderful stuff, a lot of it with a folkloric focus (i.e. not crass political propaganda).


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 Post subject: Re: Children's films?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:43 pm 
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I'd recommend Night on the Galactic Railroad which is based on Kenji Miyazawa's literary classic. It tells the story of two young friends who take a mysterious journey on a train that transcends both time and spatial boundaries to explore the spiritual nature of... well, the meaning of life, death and friendship. It has the look of an innocent children's fable (most of the characters are very cute cats), but the themes it explores are of a somewhat darker, yet very honest, nature. It offers a unique blend of iconic Christian symbolism and otherwordly surrealistic imagery. The religious imagery is somewhat heavyhanded, but not really offputting, and certainly not to the detriment of the film. The animation is exquisite and is very reminiscent of Studio Ghibli works. It's very thought-provoking and contemplative and yes, it's "slow", but it never really drags. I don't have children, but if I did, this is the film I'd sit down to watch with them. The leisurely pace, breathtaking animation, and intellectually stimulating ideas handle the difficult themes of death and the afterlife in a refreshingly mature fashion. It offers a wonderful opportunity for parents and children to explore topics not easily brought up in everyday conversation. It might be a bit much for four-year-olds; may be best to wait a year or two.


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 Post subject: Re: Children's films?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 3:19 pm 
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I'm happy some people came in and beat me to the Powell recommendations, The Red Shoes and Thief of Bagdad were childhood staples for me.

The Wizard of Oz and Miyazaki (especially Totoro, Spirited Away for kids). The former is a mixed bag though, some kids (like me), will love it while others may be terrified.

I'd also recommend, The Secret Garden (1993), a very beautiful adaptation of the classic novel. Great score, great performances and still holds up.

Musicals are always a good shot. I remember personally loving Seven Brides for Seven Husbands, though I can't vouch for it's appropriateness or quality since I haven't seen it since I was maybe 8 years old. An American in Paris might be worth a shot, as would Meet Me in St. Louis... though, the Halloween sequence might be a bit scary for a child, it really depends. State Fair (1945) is also quite charming.


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 Post subject: Re: Children's films?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:38 pm 

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nd wrote:
she also has a thing about Carole Lombard.

How could one *not* have a thing for Carole Lombard? :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Children's films?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 5:27 pm 
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Gregory wrote:
All the folks whose children enjoy silent comedy should be sure to give Charley Bowers a whirl -- deliriously inventive comedies full of camera tricks and stop-motion animation. There doesn't seem to be much on YouTube, but this will give the idea.

Are there any good dvds of his films?


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 Post subject: Re: Children's films?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 5:48 pm 
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Here.


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 Post subject: Re: Children's films?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 6:37 pm 
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Alyosha, since you're from Sweden maybe you can answer this question: Is Bröderna Lejonhjärta a beloved children's film over there? I have no idea why my parents had a copy of this..maybe a halfhearted attempt to keep some Swedish floating around in the house? ..but I sure liked it as a kid. Maybe not a film for 4 year olds, though..


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 Post subject: Re: Children's films?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 7:07 pm 
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LQ wrote:
Alyosha, since you're from Sweden maybe you can answer this question: Is Bröderna Lejonhjärta a beloved children's film over there? I have no idea why my parents had a copy of this..maybe a halfhearted attempt to keep some Swedish floating around in the house? ..but I sure liked it as a kid. Maybe not a film for 4 year olds, though..



The book with the same name is by Astrid Lindgren, who was one of the most famous
authors of Children's books (world wide, not just from Sweden). Many of her books have been turned
into movies, sometimes not to the advantage of the film. Ronja Robbersdaughter is another one
where I liked the film very much, too. Some of her books have been translated into English, but I am not sure
about the films.


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 Post subject: Re: Children's films?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 4:55 am 
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LQ wrote:
Alyosha, since you're from Sweden maybe you can answer this question: Is Bröderna Lejonhjärta a beloved children's film over there? I have no idea why my parents had a copy of this..maybe a halfhearted attempt to keep some Swedish floating around in the house? ..but I sure liked it as a kid. Maybe not a film for 4 year olds, though..


As Der Müde Tod replies, Astrid Lindgren who wrote the book is a beloved Swedish writer. Maybe most famous abroad for "Pippi Longstocking". "Bröderna Lejonhjärta" is one of her most popular books and as you say the film is also very beloved. Nice to hear that you liked it. It was ages since I saw the film, but I think I will have to check it out again sometime soon. If I remember correctly, as you say, it might be better for older ones, maybe 7+.


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