Home Arts On first loves, fears and Woody — the movies of our childhood

On first loves, fears and Woody — the movies of our childhood

by The Concordian March 4, 2014
On first loves, fears and Woody — the movies of our childhood

The city will be holding the 17th annual Montreal International Children’s Film Festival until March. 9. This festival encourages excellence in filmmaking and promotes the best of children’s cinema worldwide in order to foster a creative frame of thinking and a critical eye for a younger generation.

We asked you what film inspired you as a child, which one helped shape you and which one is your favourite.

Princess Mononoke

I am about eight years old, Christmas is around the corner and my brother and I are watching Tele-Quebec’s special holidayprogramming. The lady’s voice announces to us that we are now going to watch a darn princess movie — probably one of those girly Disney films that our sister is so fond of. Then, the movie starts and I rapidly realize not only that this is definitely not one of those boring princess stories, but also that this is probably the most epic and awesome movie I have seen in my entire life. During the hour and a half that followed, my brother and I screamed out of excitement and surprise, shared the profound pain of the kind yet doomed young prince and cried out from rage and despair while looking at the destruction of nature by the hands of greedy humans.

More importantly, I fell in love with the fearless Princess Mononoke. Ever since this marvelous abnormality that clashed so fantastically with the naivety typical of the usual children’s films that have entered my life, there has been very few holidays that did not involve an enchanting rendezvous with my favourite princess. You can all keep your apple-eating, shoe-losing, sing-songy princesses — mine has been raised by giant wolves, and that is only one of many things that makes her the best!

-Frédéric T. Muckle


Home Alone

As a child, didn’t you fantasize about staying up all night long to watch action-packed movies while eating ice cream in your parents’ bed? Home Alone gave us the opportunity to live that dream in a more thrilling way with the main character, Kevin, portrayed by Macaulay Culkin. This 8-year-old boy is accidentally left all alone at home by his parents. Besides fully enjoying this experience, he also proves that he can be responsible, by taking care of the house in a more than unusual manner.

Most of the film concentrates on the ingenious traps that Kevin fashions to get rid of the two burglars trying to invade his personal space. While in this particular situation, most children his age would probably panic and cry, but this little boy finds a fun way to solve his problems. Following Kevin’s approach would be almost impossible in real life, but this movie incites the audience’s imagination and invites us to consider that not making a mountain out of a molehill can bring an unexpected denouement. Being a child, I loved watching, year after year, the well-known blonde kid—the protagonist of a suspenseful plot emphasized by surprising special-effects and talented actors of one of the most appreciated children’s movies of the ‘90s.

-Cristiana Iulia Ilea


Pokémon: The First Movie – Mewtwo Strikes Back

Having been immersed in both Eastern and Western cinema, choosing one ultimate film from a plethora of films is a painful decision to make. However, there is one that strikes a chord and induces a sense of nostalgia, where I enjoyed and cherished the moments watching that movie with people who were close and dear to me. After all, isn’t that what an awesome movie experience is supposed to be?

It was Pokémon. Yes, I am that much of a fan when it comes to this multimedia video game franchise conceived by Satoshi Tajiri. People who know me personally are well aware how much I geek out over these cute, powerful little creatures. I guess there is something really exciting in this film that me and my cousins enjoyed when we first watched it together back in 1999.

Just like the group of young trainers going on an adventure, this movie was in itself a personal cinematic quest — including good times and bad.

We had the colorful holographic trading cards, the moment when Ash Ketchum rescues a fainted Pikachu from the wraths of the villain-possessed Mewtwo and on top of that, who could even forget M2M’s sweet and sappy rock ballad, “Don’t say you love me”?

You may judge me, but please don’t. Pokémon was my favourite movie as a child.

-Saturn de Los Angeles


The Land Before Time

When I told my friends I wanted to have a nostalgia-themed movie night and watch The Land Before Time, I was surprised to see just how excited they were to revisit this childhood gem. Seems that anyone who grew up in the ‘90s has fond memories of Littlefoot, Ducky and all the rest of the prehistoric pre-pubescent creatures on their perilous adventure to find the Great Valley.

The reactions I got from my friends (both in the latter half of their 20’s) when re-watching this film as adults, sums it all up:

“That’s Cera. She’s such a bitch,” spewed the 26-year-old marketing executive — hateful venom in her eyes, when the triceratops character first appears.

“This movie is so sad!” wept the 29-year-old pharmacist, hiding her face in her hoodie, while Littlefoot’s mother lay dying in the rain.

Don’t let the cutesy cartoon dinosaurs and their childish names deceive you. This is a movie with a dark streak — a movie about the greatest fears that plague us all.

It is these universal, powerful fears that make this a profound experience for children and adults alike: fear of losing your loved ones, fear of braving the great unknown, fear of those that are different, and ultimately, fear that the path you’ve chosen may lead you not to a lush evergreen valley, but to a fiery volcano. On this dark and fearful journey who better to keep us company than a cast of characters that are funny, colourful and unique. It is their optimism and bravery that guides us through the bleakness, showing us in the end that courage and friendship can truly conquer all.

Does The Land Before Time stand the test of time? In the words of Ducky, “Yup yup yup!”

-Tomer Shavit


Toy Story

One of my earliest memories is of exploring my grandfather’s substantial VHS collection—drawers upon drawers of films, recordings

and songs. Surely more than enough to last you a lifetime, but I didn’t need most of them — I had Toy Story. To think of it, that was possibly the first movie I ever saw.

It came out in 1995, one year after my birth, so I must have been about three when I first fell under its spell. Back then, I spoke not a single word of English; needless to say, the film’s existential themes, the witty dialogue, the amazing voice-acting, all flew right over my head.

I was genuinely shocked, having rewatched the animated classic for the first time in over 10 years, to discover it only ran 81 minutes. How could that be? It used to feel as if a whole day — or all of eternity — had gone by from the moment Buzz Lightyear made his exuberant entrance to the end credits filled with bloopers that made you believe the film was made not on computers but with traditional cameras.

Yes, this is one of my favourite films. Its characters have never left my mind — I still have a life-size Woody toy — and to see the third movie, arguably the best of the series, on the big screen was an experience to behold.

-Elijah Bukreev


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