A cinematic childhood…

The Filmspot team had a great time at King’s Place in London on Friday night, when we went to see a tribute to Oliver Postgate and Small Films, including the North Sea Radio Orchestraperforming music by Vernon Elliott, and from Bagpuss.

It’s got us thinking about childhood memories of film. We are hoping to stage an event based on our thoughts into this at some point next year, so do let us know any films from your childhood that you’d like to see on the big screen, but in the meantime, we thought we’d put together some films about childhood… let us know your thoughts!

1. ET (1982)

This film cast a huge ET-shaped shadow over many children growing up int he 80s, but as well as being for (and frightening many) children, there are some brilliant splashes of 80s middle-class childhood in this classic.

2.The Innocents (1961)

OK, slightly daft trailer aside, this is a genuinely sinister film directed by Jack Clayton, with the supposed corruption of innocence at its centre. Lots of recent films have tread the same territory (see The Others or the Orphanage), but none have quite the same atmosphere.


3. I’m not Scared (Io Non Ho Paura) (2003)

Gabriele Salvatores’s slow-moving film is essentially a kidnap story, seen through the eyes of 10 year old Michele. The depiction of an almost endlessly-long summer holiday, and the small observations of childhood is what really brings this film to life. Certainly one of the most engaging films of its type, the acting is utterly convincing, and Salvatore’s direction is absolutely spot-on.

4. My Neighbour Totoro (Tonari No Totoro) (1988)

Studio Ghibli are absolute masters of capturing childhood through animation, and we could have picked any of a number of their features (see Graveyard of the Fireflies or Spirited Away), but this film is so refreshing in its simplicity. Unlike most western animations for children, this doesn’t feature any of the usual ‘baddie’ or ‘villian’ characters, the children in Totoro have to deal with very real problems, such as the illness of a parent. It features some of the most beautifully observed animation you will ever see, and really charming characters that you will wish were present in your own childhood.

5. Night of the Hunter (1955)

A childhood fable, seen through a Film Noir lens. Robert Mitchum is one of the most effective bogeymen in cinema history as Rev Harry Powell, a serial killer and self-appointed preacher. As he pursues two children through the mid-west, the film serves as a strong illustration that “children are man at his strongest. They abide”

There are of course, lots of films that we’ve missed out here (To Kill a Mockingbird, Life is Beautiful, Fanny and Alexander, etc…) – why not drop us a line and let us know your favourites?


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