Mark Cousins & Filmhouse Present ‘Welcome to the Cinema of Childhood‏’: A UK-Wide Season of 17 Rare Global Cinematic Masterpieces





Filmhouse, Edinburgh is delighted to announce a UK-wide film season, Cinema of Childhood, curated by filmmaker Mark Cousins and inspired by his latest feature documentary, A STORY OF CHILDREN AND FILMreleased in cinemas April 4th (Dogwoof).

The Cinema Of Childhood season will launch April 11th at Filmhouse, BFI Southbank, and other key venues across the UK. The season, which will tour the UK for a year, includes 17 brilliant films from 12 countries, spanning 7 decades. Most have rarely been seen in the UK – some are totally new to UK audiences.

“These are some of the best films you’ve never had a chance to see,” Cousins says. “Films about childhood take us on fantastic voyages. E.T.: THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL was a magical bike ride across the moon. THE JUNGLE BOOK showed us the bare necessities.  A boy in THE RED BALLOON stole our hearts.  But beyond these mainstream and arthouse classics, there’s a world of great cinema about kids which is hardly known, but just as brilliant.  Welcome to that world.  Jump into it.”

“Fly to the moon on gossamer wings with the little boy in Astrid Henning-Jensen’s PALLE ALONE IN THE WORLD from 1949.  Get close to the flame of life with Renko, in Shinji Somai’s 1993 masterpiece, MOVING.  Body-swerve the bullies in Karel Kachyna’s Czech cinematic wonder, LONG LIVE THE REPUBLIC, from 1965. See LITTLE FUGITIVE, the American film from 1953 which helped inspire the French New Wave. Discover the work of one of the world’s greatest movie-makers, Mohammad-Ali Talebi from Iran with three of his best films – THE BOOT, BAG OF RICEand his poetic masterpiece WILLOW AND WIND.” Mohammad-Ali Talebi will visit the UK for the first time in April, as a guest of the British Council to launch the season with Mark Cousins at BFI Southbank, Filmhouse and other venues to be announced.

Rod White, Head of Programming at Filmhouse, adds: “The natural reaction on viewing Mark Cousins’ groundbreaking new documentary, A STORY OF CHILDREN AND FILM, is to immediately want to see the films that feature in it. But many of them simply weren’t available in any form – until now! And now that I’ve seen them, they are even better than I had expected. We are completely delighted to be working on this project with Mark, and to be playing our part in breathing new life into these great and deserving films, both in terms of this UK-wide project and, in the case of many of the films, by creating modern digital screening materials that will ensure their availability to cinemas around the world in the years to come.

Most of the titles in the season are featured in Mark’s documentary A STORY OF CHILDREN AND FILM, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last year to 5-star reviews, and has since been acclaimed at many other major festivals worldwide, including Edinburgh, Karlovy Vary, Telluride, Toronto, Stockholm and Dubai.

The season opens up a world of wonder for audiences of all ages who are keen to explore beyond Hollywood’s idea of childhood. The films are both specific to their own time and culture, but also universal in their depiction of childhood emotions, hopes and fears. Children everywhere have so much in common – only the worlds they inhabit are different.

Emotionally engaging with audiences from 8 to 80, Cinema of Childhood invites filmgoers to go on a global adventure with Mark, to discover previously unknown movie masterpieces and to see the world anew through young eyes. Uplifting and exhilarating, these are films to brighten your day.

 The season is managed by Filmhouse, which has licensed the films for a year, and is creating new digital materials where necessary to make the films available to the widest possible range of cinema venues.   Filmhouse has also licensed the VoD rights for many of the titles, enabling audiences to watch these titles at their own convenience from home or on the move via Filmhouse Player (

The project is backed by the BFI’s Programming Development Fund, awarding funds from the National Lottery. The producer of the season is Adam Dawtrey, who also produced (with Mary Bell) A STORY OF CHILDREN AND FILM.

Filmhouse (Edinburgh) and BFI Southbank (London) will programme the entire season from April to June. Other venues already confirmed to host Cinema of Childhood include Queen’s Theatre (Belfast), Chapter Arts Centre (Cardiff), Broadway (Nottingham), Dundee Contemporary Arts, Glasgow Film Theatre, Eden Court Theatre (Inverness), the Roses Theatre (Tewkesbury), Duke of York’s (Brighton), Watershed (Bristol), Cornerhouse (Manchester) and Showroom (Sheffield),along with selected Picturehouse and Curzon cinemas nationwide. Films from the season will also screen at special festival events, including the Glasgow Youth Film Festival screening ofThe White Balloon on 9th February, Zoom International Youth Film Festival and WoW Festival in March, and the Brighton Festival in May.

Further venues will be announced in due course.

In addition there are plans to screen films from Cinema of Childhood in partnership with several organisations concerned with child welfare. These screenings, which will be targeted at a mixed audience of childcare experts and the general public, will explore representations of childhood from a professional perspective, looking at issues from different cultural and global viewpoints.


The full list of titles screening in the Cinema of Childhood season are:


• “Willow and Wind” (Bid-o Baad). Iran, Japan, 1999. D. Mohammad-Ali Talebi. 77 mins. A boy breaks a school window, and must mend it himself before he’s allowed back in class.

• “Bag of Rice” (Kiseye Berendje). Iran, Japan, 1998. D. Mohammad-Ali Talebi. 80 mins. A little girl and an old blind lady decide to carry a sack of rice across Tehran.

• “The Boot” (Chakmeh). Iran 1993. D. Mohammad-Ali Talebi. 60 mins. A little girl craves a new pair of red wellies – but then loses one.

• “The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun” (La petite vendeuse de soleil). Senegal, Switzerland, France, Germany 1999. D. Djibril Diop Mambety. 45 min. A feisty crippled girl tries to improve her life by selling newspapers on the streets of Dakar.

• “Hugo and Josephine” (Hugo och Josefin). Sweden, 1967. D. Kjell Grede. 82 mins. The lonely daughter of a rural pastor makes friends with a wild boy who lives in the woods.

• “The King of Masks” (Bian Lian) China, Hong Kong, 1997. D. Wu Tian-Ming. 91 mins. An old illusionist buys a young boy to become his apprentice – but the boy isn’t quite what he seems.

• “The White Balloon” (Badkonake sefid) Iran 1995. D. Jafar Panahi. 85 mins. A stubborn little girl wants a new goldfish, and won’t let anything get in her way.

• “Tomka and his Friends” (Tomka dhe shokët e tij) Albania, 1977. D. Xhanfise Keko. 78 mins. A gang of Albanian boys in WW2 become secret agents for the Resistance when German troops occupy their village.

• “Palle Alone in the World” (Palle alene i verden). Denmark 1949. D. Astrid Henning-Jensen. 25 min. A boy wakes up to find Copenhagen deserted, and it becomes his giant playground.

• “Ten Minutes Older”. (Par desmit minutem vecaks). Latvia 1978. D. Herz Frank. 10 mins. One close-up, 10 minutes long, of a small boy’s face as he watches a thrilling puppet show.

• “Long Live the Republic” (At’ zije republika) Czechoslovakia, 1965. D. Karel Kachyna, 134 mins. A bullied boy tries to survive in a Czech village as the Germans retreat and the Russians advance.

• “Moving” (Ohikkoshi) Japan, 1993. D. Shinji Sômai. 124 mins. A girl struggles to come to terms with her parents’ divorce.

• “Forbidden Games” (Jeux interdits). France, 1952. D. René Clément. 86 mins. A boy and a girl retreat into a fantasy world to escape the horrors of WW2.

• “Crows” (Wrony). Poland, 1994. D. Dorota Kędzierzawska. 63 mins. A neglected girl steals a younger girl to become her surrogate mother.

• “Little Fugitive”. USA 1953. Dir Morris Engel, Ray Ashley, Ruth Orkin. 80 mins. A 7-year-old boy runs away to Coney Island when he thinks he’s killed his older brother.

• “Children in the Wind” (Kaze no naka no kodomo) Japan, 1937. D. Hiroshi Shimizu. 88 mins. The idyllic village life of a Japanese boy falls apart when his father is falsely imprisoned.

• “The Unseen” (Nespatřené). Czech Republic, 1997. D. Miroslav Janek. 53 mins. Documentary about Czech blind kids with remarkable talents, including taking photos.

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