6 Movies That Will Make You Wonder About Kids

2 year(s) ago
6 Movies That Will Make You Wonder About Kids

The other day I was crying. My 4-year old son came up to me, looked at my tears and then ran away. Amidst my grief my mind raced - can a child understand another person's sadness? Are children intrinsically self-centered? Before I could draw any conclusions, my boy raced back with a tissue - handed it over and sat down quietly next to me. My heart soared. Maybe things were not so bad after all. For all the times I have felt like a bad mom, I must be doing something right I concluded. I then blew my nose, wiped my tears and decided to get on with my day.

There are many times when we underestimate our child's depth of emotions. We dismiss them flippantly by saying - ‘Oh, but you won't understand.' But does a child really lack comprehension of the world around him? I think not. Several times little children have displayed insight, emotion and maturity far beyond their years. It makes you wonder how can a child who has not yet learnt to tie his shoelaces truly understand the situation and what you feel. To further this discussion, I would to suggest some movies in which children have displayed that nothing gets past them.

Childhood is not just about balloons and laughter and silliness. Children are earnest ‘little people' wanting and waiting to be taken seriously by adults. And to the directors and scriptwriters who have been able to encapsulate this insight on celluloid - this one is dedicated to them and all the little children around the world.

1. The Bicycle Thief:

This Italian movie is mandatory viewing for every film student. But one does not need a ‘film' background to enjoy this classic. Hailed by critics and audiences alike as one of the top movies of all time, the simple tale of a boy and a father looking for the father's stolen bicycle is just as fresh and relevant today, as it was sixty seven years ago, when it released in 1948.  The father has a new job sticking advertising posters, but needs a bicycle to go around the city. So when the bicycle is stolen, their world falls apart - in a post World War 2 environment where jobs are tough to come by. The range of emotions the little boy Bruno displays as he watches his father get more and more desperate in his quest to retrieve the cycle is the highlight of the movie. The final scene where they walk home (without the bicycle) and the boy slowly takes his father's hand, is what great movie-making is all about.

2. Pan's Labyrinth:

While the Bicycle Thief is steeped in realism, Pan's Labyrinth, a Spanish movie, is a strange and wondrous journey into the mind of a little girl trying to understand her war-torn surroundings. What makes it an absolute wonder is the depth of imagination of Ofelia, the protagonist. The story has all the qualities of a fairy tale with strange creatures like giant toads and talking stick insects, and tasks to be completed before the full moon night. The child begins to believe that she is a princess and starts to live an alternate world created by her. In this manner she escapes the grim reality around her. The tale has dark overtones and has a sad ending. It is suitable for older children and parental guidance is advised.

3. Bettada Hoovu:

This award winning Kannada movie is about a little mountain boy who wants to buy the Ramayana. He begins to save money by running errands for Shirley Madam, a white botanist whom he befriends at the mountain guesthouse.  Shirley madam is looking to paint the elusive mountain flower which the little boy promises to search for in the forest. The sensitive and perceptive boy finally has to make a difficult choice which will break your heart. Keep some tissues handy.

4. Children of Heaven:

I have always been fond of Iranian films. Their seemingly simple story lines always stay with you, long after the movie is over - making you realize that simple tales are often the hardest to tell. One such masterpiece is Children of Heaven by Majid Majidi. It tells the story of two siblings who have only one pair of school shoes between them, as the brother accidently loses his sister's shoes. They know their parents are poor and instead of asking them for another pair, show great maturity and try to solve the problem by themselves. The acting by the little boy and girl is so real - you just want to hold them and say ‘everything will be alright'. A definite must-see movie.

5. Tahaan:

This Hindi movie by Indian cinematographer Santhosh Sivan takes you to the Kashmir Valley. The film examines the inane violence of terrorism, and the futility of war from the eyes of an innocent boy and his donkey. With a strong message that every family is affected by strife, and little children lose their childhood much too early, the movie is a beautifully shot - juxtaposing the natural beauty of Kashmir - and the ugliness of war.

6. To Kill a Mocking Bird:

This 1962 movie is based on the Pulitzer award winning book of the same title by Harpee Lee, and is perhaps one of America's most beloved and famous novels, which deals with racial injustice. Set during the Great Depression (1933-35), the narrator is the six year old Jean Louise Finch (Scout) and we see the world as she sees it. Her father Attitus Finch (played to perfection by Gregory Peck) takes one a case to defend a black man falsely accused of raping a white girl. While the entire town condemns her father, Scout tries to understand her father's ideals and realizes that the world around her is not so idealistic. A true classic.

Watch these wonderful movies with your family that beautifully encapsulate a child's comprehension of the so called adult world. Give your little one a hug  and revel in the miracle called ‘children'.

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Author
Vidya JS
Vidya is a full-time mom of two little kids. In previous avatars, she worked in the Public Relations industry in Bangalore and Chennai for 10 years. She is a trained classical dancer and has a degree in communication and literature. She loves art and culture and is always looking for ways to give the cartoons a break and introduce a bit of culture to children in fun ways. When not running behind the kids, she fantasizes about hour long foot massages, having uninterrupted cups of tea and traveling light.

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