Sharjah: Movie enthusiasts at the 9th Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth enjoyed their second ‘Green Carpet’ screening on October 12 with the MENA premiere of the beautiful and quietly powerful South Korean movie ‘Croissant’, at VOX Cinemas in Al Zahia, Sharjah.
SIFF’s debut Green Carpet event, which introduces international films on socially relevant themes, has given the Korean movie with its realistic portrayal of balancing life and career choices a unique reception. The film’s audiences were welcomed with individually wrapped croissants – just like the ones made by Sung-eun, who is living her passion as a baker. Each croissant sported a sticker that asked: ‘Have you ever tasted a film?’
Directed by Sung Kyu Cho, Croissant presents the narrative of two young people caught between reality and ideality. The protagonists Sung-eun (Nam Bo-ra) and Heejun (Hyuk) have aspirations that are polar opposites.
While the lady has quit a stable government job to start her own bakery, the man is preparing for tests to enter public service so that he does not have to face a lay-off like he experienced at his previous private company. In the end, it is Sung-eun’s croissant business that unites them in career and life.
During an interaction with the audience following the screening, Sung Kyu Cho told the audience that the intense performances of the lead actors Nam Bo-ra and Hyuk helped solve the flatness of a simple plot that made heavy use of indoor spaces and featured a minimal cast. Shot during the pandemic period, Croissant is a perfect example of the innovative craft adopted by many directors across the world.
“My advice to young people is to choose adventure over job stability and security. This is a privilege they must have,” said Cho to the youth. “I want every young person to know that it is possible to achieve what you dream of.”
On October 13, the final day of exclusive film screenings for school children as part of the 9th Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth, three venues welcomed hordes of enthusiastic children.
Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre (JRCC), and VOX Cinemas at Al Zahia, in Sharjah and Mirdif City Centre, Dubai - resonated with the spirited exuberance of children as a total of 40 films across a wide spectrum of genres enlightened and entertained the young audiences.
18 delightful films at JRCC
At JRCC, children from Grade 2 – 7 immersed themselves in the feature Dostojee (Two Friends), a moving tale of friendship that skillfully explored wider societal issues through the prism of an intimate, personal tale. Set in a border town in the east of India, the 2021 film by Prasun Chatterjee had its MENA premiere at SIFF 2022.
Nine Student Films – Elevator Alone, The Most Boring Granny In The Whole World, Kayak, Grandpa, The Loneliness Of The Stars, Tales of the Salt Water, Almost Unreal, The Basilisk and Sounds Between The Crowns – enabled youngsters at JRCC to explore and experience life in its myriad colours and emotions.
Three GCC Short Films from Saudi Arabia and Iraq – Ali And His Miracle Sheep, The Girls who Burned the Night and My Vibe – explored hardships faced by children and how they rise up to the challenges before them. Five more from the same genre - Zawal, Hujjar, Sound of Feathers, Nour Shams, and A Small Dream – opened the audience’s eyes to the ambitions and aspirations of peers less fortunate than them.
The lovely stop motion animation feature Oink – about a young girl who receives a piglet as a pet from her grandfather – was greeted with rapturous applause by children from Grade 1 – 5 at VOX Al Zahia.
Feature films Paper Flower and A Second Life portrayed the struggles of people in South Korea and Tunisia respectively while Moon Rock For Monday, Farha and Sea Boys dwelt on the lives of young people in Australia and Asia, and offered insights into how they cope with pain and suffering in their lives
7 Student Films – Contretemps, Sauerkraut, Rest In Peace, The Seine’s Tears, Spinning Top, Baba Jafar, Melody Tone Dance – enriched young adults on the third day at VOX Al Zahia.
Shorts, documentaries and student films
Amongst the International Short Films that entertained middle school children at VOX Mirdif City Centre in Dubai included The Night I Left America, The Needle, Beit Byoot and Salvador Dali.
Young students also welcomed the screening of four Documentaries - Water, Wind, Dust, Bread; Shero; Abu Basheer and The Dream of a Horse, which provided a fresh take on everyday life.
Nine Student Films were screened at Mirdif – Elevator Alone, Kayak, Grandpa, The Most Boring Granny in the World, The Loneliness of the Stars, Tales of the Salt Water, Almost Unreal, The Basilisk and Sounds Between the Crowns.