Films are an educational opportunity that can be worth multiple months of reading. At the same time, film watching is a great family activity because of the shared feelings and emotions, the opportunity for discussions, and the insights we get of each other’s thinking and feelings.
Here are 5 films I recommend for you and your kids this Spring Break.
STRAY explores what it means to live as a being without status or security, following three strays – Zeytin, Nazar and Kartal – as they embark on inconspicuous journeys through Turkish society that allow us an unvarnished portrait of human life — and their own canine culture. Zeytin, fiercely independent, embarks on adventures through the city at night; Nazar, nurturing and protective, easily befriends the humans around her; while Kartal, a shy puppy living on the outskirts of a construction site, finds companions in the security guards who care for her. The disparate lives of Zeytin, Nazar and Kartal intersect when they each form intimate bonds with a group of young Syrians who share the streets with them. Whether they lead us into bustling streets or decrepit ruins, the gaze of these strays acts as a window into the overlooked corners of society: women in loveless marriages, protesters without arms, refugees without sanctuary. STRAY is a critical observation of human civilization through the unfamiliar gaze of dogs and a sensory voyage into new ways of seeing.
2. Captain Abu Raed
When an old airport janitor finds a captain’s hat in the trash, he gets pulled into the lives of children in his poor neighborhood. He weaves imaginary stories of his world adventures to offer hope in the face of their harsh reality.
3. Raya and the Last Dragon
Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. But when sinister monsters known as the Druun threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, those same monsters have returned and it’s up to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down the last dragon in order to finally stop the Druun for good. However, along her journey, she’ll learn that it’ll take more than dragon magic to save the world—it’s going to take trust as well. From directors Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada, co-directors Paul Briggs and John Ripa, producers Osnat Shurer and Peter Del Vecho, and featuring the voices of Kelly Marie Tran as Raya and Awkwafina as Sisu. Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Raya and the Last Dragon” will debut simultaneously on Disney+ Premier Access and in theatres on March 5, 2021.
This film is a Lebanese-Swedish movie, directed by the Lebanese-Swedish Joseph Fares. It’s not the first to show the Lebanese civil war from children eyes (check for West Beirut, and In the Battlefields) but it shows how the war and its consequences follows a kid beyond the country’s borders. So for a boy, once in Sweden, his life is not necessary easier than how it was back in a flaming Lebanon. In fact, I found that in this movie, Zozo’s life in Lebanon was full (relatively) of joy, while when he arrived to Sweden it was reduced almost only to disappointments, some may think that it contradicts expectations, some my not share the same opinion, but either way, it was a beautiful way to present such a transition for a young child. In fact, it goes beyond to show how hard for an immigrant (young or old) to integrate into a foreign society (here the grandfather mark a good example).
From what I could’ve understand, the story is a fiction, but related somewhat to the director’s life since he left Lebanon during the civil war when he was ten years old. Following Danielle Arbid and Ziad Doueiri’s way to make peace with their past.
Globally the film was good, make fair use of special effects (I think that funding films in Sweden is easier than Lebanon). Actors were pretty good as well; Antoinette Turk’s (playing Rita) acted nicely,
Imad Creidi’s (as Zozo) role surprised me with his Swedish language and good performance for a child of his age. And then there is Carmen Lebbos, playing perfectly, as she always do, the mother role model.
The script was nicely written from a child eyes, things go smoothly. Though I should point to some minor flaws that come up when trying to see things rationally. For instance, how can a ten years old child go from east Beirut to the mountains (walking??!), then to the airport that easy in a city shredded into two parts? Then once in Sweden writing to Rita without having her address.
In the end I remind that this feature was the representative for Sweden for the 78th academy awards. It needs to be seen since it’s a nicely done good movie.
5. Ghadi (if you haven’t watched it already)
In a small Lebanese costal village, growing fear by the neighbors towards Ghadi, a young special needs boy in their midst forces his father Leba, the town’s only music teacher to concoct a crazy scheme to convince his fellow townspeople that his son is not the “demon” they fear but rather an angel who holds all the answers to their problems.