2016, GKIDS, 70 min, Switzerland/France, Dir: Claude Barras

This stop-motion gem about the resilience of the human heart won the Grand Prize and the Audience Award at the 2016 Annecy International Animation Film Festival. After his alcoholic mother dies, a boy nicknamed Zucchini (or “Courgette” in French) is befriended by a police officer and brought to a foster home, where he meets other orphans his age. Written by Céline Sciamma (GIRLHOOD, TOMBOY), Barras’ debut feature strikes a remarkable balance between the joys and sorrows of childhood. “Barras’ movie demonstrates the same qualities expected of responsible parents: It bothers to notice how Courgette actually feels. … The cartoon is never afraid to be cute, but more importantly, it’s committed to being real.” - Peter Debruge, Variety.

1942, Disney, 70 min, Dir: David Hand

Among the most beloved animated films of all time is this story of a young deer growing up to become the “Great Prince of the Forest” with the help of his friends, Thumper the rabbit and Flower the skunk. Though the film is family-friendly, source novel Bambi, A Life in the Woods was written for adults, and the book’s serious tone does come through in places (most famously in the off-screen death of Bambi’s mother).

2015, 105 min, Germany, Dir: Alain Gsponer

Johanna Spyri’s classic novel returns to the screen for a new generation in this German and Bavarian Film Award winner for Best Children’s Film. Sent to live with her gruff and solitary grandfather (Bruno Ganz) in the Swiss Alps, young orphan Heidi (Anuk Steffen) eventually wins the old man over. But just as Heidi grows to love her new home, she is taken away to Frankfurt to serve as a companion to a wealthy, wheelchair-bound girl (Isabelle Ottmann). Gorgeous Alpine vistas are contrasted with authentic depictions of era, underlining Heidi’s resilience and ingenuity in the face of bleak circumstances - this is a timeless story of remaining true to yourself, no matter where you might be.

Syndicate content