Wednesday, 10 November 2010

LEEDS FILM FEST REVIEW: Children of the Beehive


Don’t expect a lot from this review, as I can’t spurt out praise being an educated filmmaker or a fan of classic films because I’m neither. I can only relay from an uninformed and apathetic angle.

It was nice. It wasn’t something I had been looking forward to seeing, and it wasn’t something I’d watch again/spread the word about.  Because it’s considered such a classic of Japanese cinema (and by the looks of the ratings it got from the audience also well loved) I’m cautious to pick at it because it’s hard to put yourself in the shoes of someone watching this film in the 1950s and how they would have responded to it then. For me now in 2010, I found it very slow and the characters hard to care about. The orphaned boys were lovely, and there were some heart-warming funny moments (such as them trying to lift the heavy logs).

The young actors were outstanding. But only a few of them were distinguishable as having “parts” as such, and one of the main boys who runs off with the lady was – I’m going to whisper here – annoying as hell. When he went on and on to his friend to carry him up the mountain to see the sea – one of the most surging moments in the whole film – I was moaning on in my head about how I couldn’t stand to have a whiney selfish child around me like that, especially in comparison to the rest of the kids who are hard-working, a bit mischievous but also loyal and generous. But then I had to give myself a hugggge telling off when they got to the top of the mountain and you realise he’d died…

There was a line I really loved: when a group of the boys are complaining about some of the others being weak and lazy, the soldier tells them, “they’re not weak they’re just afraid. Be decent to them so they don’t become afraid of you.”

And the music made me want to watch Gone With The Wind again. So there were some pluses.

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