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Shorts and Superheroes at TIFF Kids Day 3: Flack’s Report

Posted on | April 24, 2014 | Add Comments

In Amar, audiences get a slice of a hard-working Iranian boy's lifeTwo shorts programs and a kid superhero rounded out another incredible year at TIFF Kids. Without further ado, here’s my opinions on our last day at TIFF (April 21)…

What do the daily lives of children look like? That’s the theme of the “Slice of Life” shorts program, a continent-spanning collection of four very different, very interesting documentaries. Jamey’s Fight tells the story of an aspiring soccer player with a serious stammer and uses traditional documentary techniques (talking-heads interviews mixed with clips). On the other end of the spectrum, Amar examines a day in the life of a  hard-working Indian boy with a unique, if confusing, interview-free style that puts us right into Amar’s life. Meanwhile, in Youseff, Please Say No!, an over-busy teenager is forced to reconsider his hectic schedule. The highlight here is To Be a B-Girl, an inspiring look at a German break-dancing girl that discusses gender stereotypes and the culture of this interesting sport.

Chikara-The Sumo Wrester's Son tells the true-life tale of sports, determination, and parental pressureAnother group of short documentaries, Strength Through Struggle focuses on children and their courage, resourcefulness, and wit during times of hardship. In Chikara- The Sumo Wrestler’s Son, a Japanese ten-year old trains to be a winning sumo wrestler, like his over-enthusiastic father. The question is, does Chikara want this future for himself? With haunting cinematography, thrilling editing, and narration from Chikara, director Simon Lereng Wilmont  creates a captivating portrait of childhood and one of the best short films I’ve ever seen. Two more moving tales of kids struggling with parental issues finished the program: Layla’s Melody, about a girl’s uncertain life in Afghanistan, and Hear This!, about a Danish kid-soccer player and his deaf dad.

Antboy isn't your average superhero (he's a kid!)The only feature film I saw this day was Antboy, a superhero hero adventure starring (refreshingly) a kid. Pelle is just a regular kid living a regular life until he gets bitten by an ant (sound familiar?) and receives incredible powers. Before long, Pelle is Antboy, a crime-fighting superhero. But does Pelle just want to be the “popular kid” or will he take advantage of his gifts? Parents looking for a safe alternative to the dark, brooding state of comic-book cinema will love taking their kids to this entertaining, kid-friendly superhero comedy.

From a jazz prodigy and flying meatballs, to engrossing true-life tales and a comic-book super-kid, TIFF Kids 2014 was filled with wondeeful movies of every variety. Another memorable year at TIFF is over but I have some unforgettable movie-going experiences to remember!

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