All too often children are portrayed as nice and cute in the world of cinema. If that was the case then the adults which they turn into would all be nice lovable people, sadly this is not true. Here is a list of films about children covering areas including: suicide, ethnic cleansing, murder, mental heath, imprisonment, paedophilia, poverty and incest. Not all children have these backgrounds, but no child has a perfectly normal childhood.
Germany Year Zero. (Germania Anno Zero) 1947 Roberto Rossellini. PG
As a child playing in the ruins of the bombed city, Edmund tries to balance everything around him, but with terrible consequences.
Rabbit Proof Fence. 2002 Phillip Noyce. Australia. PG
Based on a true story from the 1930’s about the Australian government’s policy of training aboriginal children and integrating them into white society. Molly and her sister out-smart their captors and travel 1500 miles in the process.
The Apple. 1997 Samira Makhmalbaf. Iran. PG
How twins find freedom beyond the gate they have been behind for the last 12 years. Poor muscle tone and learning disabilities don’t stop them from learning to play with others, once this barrier is taken away.
The Cement Garden. 1992 Andrew Birkin. British. 18
What happens to four children who lose both parents, one they bury, and are left to fend for themselves. The older children try to find their sexuality with each other and the younger two enjoy playing with little social stereotypes. From Ian McEwan’s book.
Sweetie. 1989 Jane Campion. Australia. 15
Two grown up sisters meet up again, then comes dad. A story of mental health in the family, and how chaos will rein, but with a sad outcome.
Alice Sweet Alice. 1976 Alfred Sole USA 18
A horror film about a 12 year old girl who may or may not have killed her younger sister. Great 1970’s horror.
The Tin Drum. 1979 Volker Schlondorff. German 15
Oscar stops growing on his third birthday, with his tin drum and a piercing scream he makes his way through life and Nazi Germany. From Gunter Grass’ epic novel.
Kes. 1970 Kenneth Loach. British PG
How a boy called Billy has the best natural playscape and takes on the task of bringing up a kestrel, in a deprived mining town.
La Spagnola. 2003 Steve Jacobs. Australia 15
A daughter in a barren industrial town hatches a plan to help her mother get her car back, which turns very wrong and comical.
Toto the Hero. (Toto le Heros) 1991 Jaco Van Dormael. Belgium 15
All his life, Thomas believes he was switched at birth, and holds revenge to murder Alfred, the boy next door.
The Wizard of OZ. 1939 Victor Fleming. USA PG
A great film of a child’s dream, must be watched on a large screen as so much is lost on a TV.
Life is Sweet. 1990 Mike Leigh. British 15
Two sisters, one anorexic, the other a tom boy, live in a council house with loving mum and dad. Very funny.
The Reflecting Skin. 1990 Philip Ridley USA 15
Set in the 1950’s in prairie farmland, Seth has a complex time with vampires and paedophiles coming into his town. Beautifully shot, and quite haunting.
Etre et avoir (To Be and To Have). 2002 Nicolas Philibert, France PG
A wonderful six months in the life of Georges Lopez (teacher) and his tiny class of infants and juniors. This film is beautiful in all ways and shows how a school could be. A great juxtaposition to ‘Kes.’