Unlighted Life

By Keny Kakadia

Films reflect various facets of life. They intend to make us laugh and cry, whilst also making us think. Filmmakers use their creative process to portray the vast emotions we steer through making them palatable via the cinematic experience. Unlighted Life features some of the celebrated films that draw attention to unprivileged childhoods of film characters, facing emotional turmoils as kids and experiencing the backlash of the same in adulthood.

Films are there to draw people in, to a story, the job they have is to immerse you, surround you. They don’t always need to be active, or over the top romantic, sometimes the truth wins the audience’s hearts and minds by capturing frames and a realistic storyline. Some of the recent releases – Turned, directed by Ander Walter, Timo’s Winter by Writer/director Giulio Mastromauro and others listed, we recommend you to watch this lockdown.

Turned Director Anders Walters

This film stars some danish actors including Sylvester Byder, Jacob Hauberg Lohmann, Clara Rosager and produced by multi-Academy Award-winning Producer Kim Magnusson. It is even under consideration for an Oscar. Turned is a story about Kasper. He had a sorrowful childhood, as his father was an alcoholic who use to torture his mother.

His disturbing childhood is still reflecting his present and looks likely to affect his future. He always felt ashamed of this life so never use to let his girlfriend meet his parents. Kasper a successful car racing driver but he was never happy his father’s behaviour still very present. Watch Turned to find out how Kasper’s violent childhood provokes his adulthood.

Timo’s Winter Writer/director Giulio Mastromauro

Giulio Mastromauro lost his mother at a young age and this film is inspired by that experience of losing a mother to a young child. it is an Oscar-nominated film.

The first frame evidently colours the emotion of the film and the characters. The youngest in the family has learned to cope with the enormity of the situation. In the early scenes, Timo seems exhausted by his effort to achieve involvement, struggling in silence, trying to make peace with his situation.

It is in the last frame when he watches his childhood pictures with his mother that makes the end immensely heartful. The extended families and their unspoken love for each other holds them together in tough times. The characters in the short film, particularly Timo are raw but ready to face life as it comes.

Slumdog Millionaire Director Danny Boyle

The 2008, British-Indian drama film that is a loose adaptation of the novel Q & A by Indian author Vikas Swarup, telling the story of 18-year-old Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) from slums of Mumbai. As a contestant on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Jamal surprises everyone by being able to answer every question correctly. Accused of cheating, Jamal recounts his life story to the police, illustrating how he can answer each question correctly.

Stand By Me Director Rob Reiner

Based on Stephen King’s The Body, the event takes place when Gordie Lachance, and his three close friends, Chris, Teddy and Vern, set out on a life-changing adventure to see the dead body of a 12-year-old boy. Only knowing the general location of it, the boys head out into woods. Along the way, they learn about themselves, find the meaning of friendship, and stand up to a local gangster.

To kill a mockingbird – Director Robert Mulligan

An American drama film, based on Harper Lee’s much-awarded novel of the same name. In the mid-1930s a six-year-old tomboy lives in Maycomb with her lawyer father and her ten-year-old brother. Scout, the protagonist with his brother Jem and their friend Dill try to make their reclusive neighbour Boo Radley leave his house. Many residents of Maycomb are racists, Atticus the father is asked to defend Tom Robinson, a black man wrongly accused of raping a white woman. Atticus takes on the case even though everyone knows he has little hope of winning.

Life of Pi – Director Ang lee

The fable is framed by an interview of a now middle-aged man named Pi narrates his story, in which a teenage version of himself, a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan, and Richard Parker (tiger) are the only survivors, of a boat sinking, warily sharing a lifeboat. Until the laws of nature take over, leaving only Pi and the tiger alive. The rest of the film focuses on their harrowing journey across the ocean and the wondrous, hypnotic sights they come across.

Angela’s Ashes – Director Alan Parker

This is a 1999 drama film based on the memoir of the same name by Frank McCourt. Angela’s Ashes follows the experiences of young Frankie and his family as they try against all odds to escape the poverty endemic in the slums of pre-war Limerick. The film opens with the family in Brooklyn, but following the death of one of Frankie’s siblings, they return home, only to find the situation there even worse. Prejudice against Frankie’s Northern Irish father makes his search for employment in the Republic difficult despite his having fought for the I.R.A., and when he does find money, he spends it on drink.

Fish Tank – Director Andrea Arnold

This film narrates the story of Mia (Katie Jarvis), an isolated and rebellious 15-year-old girl who lives on an East London council estate with her single mother, Joanne, and younger sister, Tyler. She had a lonely childhood and accidentally gets charmed by her mother’s boyfriend, Connor (Michael Fassbender). This attraction leads her to turn rival of her mother.

The Misfortunates – Director Felix Van Groeningen

The Belgian comedy-drama film is adapted from a novel written by Dimitri Verhulst, about a thirteen-year-old boy living with his alcoholic father and three uncles, and his mother that affects his education and personal life. Despite all hardships, he turns into an author looking back at his unfortunate childhood.

Tomboy – Director Céline Sciamma

The 2011 film Tomboy features a young ten-year-old child, assigned female at birth, named Laure who adopts the identity of Mickäel as he plays with new friends in a small French town. Mickäel might be trans, a point the film leaves unclear. That clarity is not really all that important, as Mickäel would be too young for any kind of treatment other than a social transition, which makes up the bulk of the narrative. The child clearly displayed feelings of gender dysphoria. Tomboy is a well-crafted film, but purposely devoid of the kind of compassion desperately needed in these types of situations.

Be part of films like this and many more, lined this January by South Social Cineclub together with the BFI and the Finnish Institute, the Embassy of Argentina, the Embassy of Denmark and the Embassy of Iceland. Book your choice of show

If you find Unlighted Life interesting please also view Easy Classics.