Birds of Passage: A realistic children’s film
by Aurore Engelen
- The feature by Yves and Olivier Ringer gets a nationwide release after having been named Best Film at the Montreal International Children’s Film Festival
Today sees the theatrical release of Birds of Passage [+see also:
film profile] in Belgium, the third movie by the filmmaking duo comprising brothers Yves and Olivier Ringer. It’s not every day that you turn ten years old. For her birthday, Cathy’s whimsical father gives her a present that is a little out of the ordinary: a fertilised duck egg. Her father warns her: the duckling it will produce will think the first person it claps eyes on is its mother. And that first person, against all odds, is Margaux. While Cathy is quite prepared to let Margaux play the role of mother duck, the latter’s parents have a different view on the matter: overwhelmed by their daughter’s condition (she suffers from a serious physical disability that means she is confined to a wheelchair), they don’t believe she is capable of taking care of the duckling. Desperate to live a normal life at last, Margaux runs away with Cathy so that she can love and look after her little duckling far from the grown-ups who are trying to stop her from doing so.
Birds of Passage, in terms of both its content and its style, is a realistic film for children, which is a rare enough phenomenon to be noteworthy. The movie contains no special effects or magic, but instead features kids who create their own adventure for themselves, and parents who find out that there are several ways to actually be parents. It is a family film about the desire to be normal, the need to be independent, family, friendship and responsibility. The film is being brought out by Jekino, a distributor that specialises in children’s films, in 11 cinemas in Wallonia, Flanders and Brussels.
The other Belgian release of the week is at almost exactly the opposite end of the cinematic spectrum: Foute Vrienden : De Film by Jan Willems. This project continues in a similar vein to other Flemish films that have been adapted from successful TV series, except that this one goes even further, as it is not an adaptation of a serial, but rather a hidden-camera show in which four "friends" bet each other that they can’t pull simple pranks. It is based on the format of a US show that is similar to Jackass but with a more easy-going vibe. The film is being released in six theatres across Flanders.
(Translated from French)