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Forgive the corny subject line.
I saw Bejamin Dove at the Sprockets film festival for children and I must say it was the best out of the selection they had for the year. This is truly a gem.
Benjamin Dove is a story of a group of friends who form their own little round table of knights. The first thing they see in the morning is what they are to be called. Benjamin saw a dove first thing, hence, Benjamin Dove. However problems start to occur as some boys are outcast, some are kicked out, new gangs are created, rivalry and chaos ensue and finally it ends with a death. A death no one in the sleepy town expected.
This was beautifully shot and well acted. Perhaps one of the most striking characters has to be timid little Baldur. This is truly worth a look if you're lucky enough to get your hands on a copy. And don't let the subtitles intimidate you.
Northern Europe cinematography gives special attention to children,
either as audience or as characters in the movies. From Astrid
Lindgren's stories usually made for preschool or younger school age
(Pippi, Bullerbyn, Madita) and mostly Danish movies about and for
children age 9 or 10 (Tøsepiger, Flyvende farmor, Gummi Tarzan) to
movies about teens that have nothing in common with American teen
movies (Saning eller konsekvens, Zappa, Sofies verden, Aldri mer 13),
and many real family movies for all ages (Ronja, Tinke) or stories that
are made mostly for adult audience but with children or teenagers as
one of main or leading roles (Tyven Tyven, All Things Fair, Mitt liv
som hund), the list is countless and we can be almost certain that
either we or our children, or most probably all of us, will have at
least good time watching them.
These movies have their plot put in a definite period of time, mostly only one or few days, with stories in a straight line. Benjamin dúfa (dove), coming from Iceland, is an exception with construction looking more like some American movies: it is a puzzle of memories narrated by one of the characters who is remembering his childhood when he returns to the place where he grew up (like Now And Then). A group of boys (again looking like American groups in similar movies, like Stand By Me) and their one particular summer when a few events happened that marked their whole lives...
Apart of that, Benjamin is European movie, but more like those made in middle Europe. It may be even an Icelandic version of Hungarian novel A Pál utcai fiúk, aka The Boys of Paul Street (an obligatory reading for many European school kids and twice adapted to movies - great '69 version), the same way as Westside Story is American Version of Romeo And Juliet. You have a group of 10-12 y.o. boys, very realistic characters none of them being a real hero, expressing different positive and negative emotions and characteristics, having their own special playing-hiding place (where they should not be allowed to come, but - even that is similar to Molnár's novel - it's a storage keeper who permits it) and finally have to fight against enemy group with a tragic end.
Betrayal and loyalty, friendship and bullying, encouraging and neglecting, violence and reconciliation. Too much for one movie? It could sound like a morality and homily teaching kids how to behave good... and, maybe, in the second (middle) part it comes close to that, with a too optimistic and idealistic story about helping one person and everybody participating in this action; but watching the movie you don't have that homily feeling - Benjamin Dúfa in fact isn't a children movie at all, it is more a movie about the children that can be watched by everyone - including children
this is one of the most touching, beautiful films i've seen in my life.
it's mostly thanks to Sigfús Sturlusons brilliant portrayal of Baldur
He surely is one of the greatest actors of our time.
This film is not only the best Icelandic movie I've seen but also one of the best movies I have seen ever. I liked all those little boys who were in the leading role but I especially like the one who played Baldur (Sigfús Sturluso). His perfomance was excellent in this film just like the others he has played in.
The Film is Fantastic,Dramatic in one.First you don't know,that the
Film is a Childhood-Memory of an Adult man.The contain is About
Friendship,courage,but also about Death. About..........loosing a
Person you well known,and the Hurt,about that what happened.Four Boy
see themselves as Knights.Four Knights who are staying for
justice,honesty,courage and sincerity.To stay together and Help.The
Film is keeps high these four virtues whole Time.There is much what
Child and Teens, but also Adults, can learn from this Film. The End is
Dramatic ,but see it self...
I'm also an Adult today and I see this Film not so long ago.I feel that I was back over 22 Years into my own Childhood. Also I have seen much Child-Films,this Film is absolutely the Best Film in this I ever see...
Benjamin Dufa is one of the best Icelandic movies I´ve seen and I can highly recommend it. This is a funny but touching story about the friendship and adventures of four young boys and how their lives changed forever one summer.
The first and only Hollywood looking film from Iceland. Truly magnificent piece of work with great casting, sound, photography and editing. In all; this is how films should be done. Other Icelandic film makers should make a good example out of this one.
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