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Family movies

Films that can be watched with children (from around 11 years of age) and young people in a family setting, some of them with topics that can be explored in greater depth in conversation.

Liyana (2019)
Aaron & Amanda Kopp
Swaziland
76′
LIYANA is a story born in the imaginations of five orphaned children in the Kingdom of Swaziland. The film follows the children, Zweli, Sibusiso, Phumlani, Mkhuleko, and Nomcebo, as they collaborate to tell the original tale of Liyana, a fictional character whose early life bears remarkable similarities to their own. The world that the children imagine for Liyana is brought to life in an innovative style of animated artwork. This hybrid film weaves documentary scenes together with the animated adventure. LIYANA is executive produced by British-Zimbabwean actress, Thandie Newton, with artwork from rising Nigerian talent, Shofela Coker. Under the guidance of acclaimed South African storyteller, Gcina Mhlophe, the children transform their darkest memories and brightest dreams into fuel for their fairytale. After an idyllic early childhood, Liyana’s world is shattered when her father contracts HIV and both of her parents die. Inspired by a recent real-life robbery, the children decide that there will be a frightening attack at Liyana’s family homestead. In the aftermath of this terrible night, the girl and her trusty sidekick, the family bull, embark on a dangerous, beautiful, and often humorous quest into the wilderness. Hunger, wild animals, and treacherous terrain stand between Liyana and an uncertain fate. As our young storytellers move their fictional character forward through trial and temptation, we periodically return to intimate documentary scenes of the children’s lives in Swaziland - nightly rituals, herding cattle, and a trip to a local clinic for an HIV test. The children’s creative journey is echoed throughout the film by allegorical scenes of the group hiking down a steep ravine in search of a mysterious river. These intertwining narrative strands work together to draw connections between Liyana and the children. As the real and imagined worlds begin to converge the children must choose what kind of story they will tell - in fiction, and in their own lives.
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Wolf And Sheep (2016)
Shahrbanoo Sadat
Afghanistan
87′
In rural Afghanistan, people believe in the stories they invent to tell each other, explaining the mysteries of the world, they don’t understand. Shepherd children own the mountains. Even though there are no grown ups around, they know the rules very well; the main one is that boys and girls are not allowed to be together, they have to be separated. The boys practice with their slings to fight the wolves should they attack the flock. The girls smoke dried branches of wheat secretly and play wedding, dreaming of getting a husband soon. They gossip about every one and everything, but mostly about Sediqa, 11, an outsider among the shepherd children. They think she is cursed, as an evil ghost disguised as a snake bewitched her grandmother. Sediqa picks up her sheep and goats every morning and drops them in the owner’s house every evening. She dreams of having a sling and learn to swing it like the boys and hit a wolf. Qodrat, 11, becomes the gossip topic of everyone after his mother remarries with an old man with two wives. He prefers to be alone in the most isolated parts of the mountains. This is where he meets Sediqa and they become friends until Qodrat’s mother has to send him away.
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Supa Modo (German version) (2018)
Likarion Wainaina
Kenya
71′
Jo, a witty 9-year old terminally ill girl is taken back to her rural village to live out the rest of her short life. Her only comfort during these dull times are her dreams of being a Superhero, which prove to be something her rebellious teenage sister Mwix, overprotective mother Kathryn and the entire village of Maweni think they can fulfill.
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Anina (2013)
Alfredo Soderguit
Uruguay
78′
Anina Yatay Salas is a pensive redhead who really does not like her name. Each part is a palindrome, which means it reads the same both forwards and backwards. Her schoolmates are always teasing her about this, especially Anina’s arch-enemy Yisel. When these two get into a playground fight one day they are sent to the school head who disciplines them with a nerve-racking punishment: they are both given a sealed black envelope which they are not allowed to open for an entire week. Haunted by nightmares, the days drag by endlessly for Anina. She and her inquisitive best friend try to devise all sorts of ways to discover what is inside the envelope. Gradually, Anina begins to realise that not only does Yisel share her fate: she also has much bigger problems to contend with than Anina. Tentatively, the two rivals begin to get to know each other. Narrated by the voice of the young protagonist, the film is able to follow Anina’s thought processes and provide an insight into her emotional world. Anina’s day-dreams are not always about her troubles and woes - they also reflect her awakening feelings of love.
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Supa Modo (2018)
Likarion Wainaina
Kenya
74′
Jo, a witty 9-year old terminally ill girl is taken back to her rural village to live out the rest of her short life. Her only comfort during these dull times are her dreams of being a Superhero, which prove to be something her rebellious teenage sister Mwix, overprotective mother Kathryn and the entire village of Maweni think they can fulfill.
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Mein Lotta-Leben (2019)
Neele Leana Vollmar
Germany
93′
Based on the bestselling children's book by Daniela Kohl, the movie tells the story of six-grader Lotte and her best friend Cheyenne.
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Red Turtle (2016)
Michael Dudok de Wit
France
81′
The dialogue-less film follows the major life stages of a castaway on a deserted tropical island populated by turtles, crabs and birds.
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