Penetrates to the deepest parts of human experience
No film conveys the innocence of childhood and its passage more poignantly than Letter to a Child, Vlado Skafar's beautiful meditation on the essence of life. The film, chosen by Olaf Muller of Film Comment magazine as one of the ten best films of 2009, is now in its first ever North American release and was shown at the Vancouver International Film Festival. Letter to a Child is a series of heartfelt monologues prompted by the director's searching questions to a group of young children, teenagers, young adults, parents, an elderly couple, and an old man in a village in Slovenia. The second feature by Skafar, who co-founded the Slovenian Cinematheque and began the Isola Cinema Film Festival in 2004, has no plot, no narrative thread, no beginning, and no end.
Skafar simply brought a small camera crew to ask the townspeople questions about their ideas on things that are important in their lives – their love for family, the joys they share, their sorrows, and their views on death and the hereafter. The result is a cinematic testament to the adventure of life and the beauty of love. Children and teenagers talk about what is important in their world – friendships, adventures, and romance – these are ordinary people who have the courage to look at their lives and reveal what works and what does not. Adults of course have different concerns, and the joys and heartbreaks of raising children are articulated with deep insight and awareness and without self consciousness. In many instances, their silences are more eloquent than words.
The profundity of Letter to a Child does not come from pre-conceived ideas but simply unfolds from the testimony of honest and engaged people who have known joy and sadness and all the stages in between. Interspersed with the interviews are glimpses of the director's own childhood displayed through personal letters, home videos, and photos from family albums showing "the passage of time - the eternal cycle of life." Letter to a Child is a simple film on the surface, but penetrates to the deepest parts of human experience to record a poetic chronicle of life.
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