MIFF Reviews: Jermal (2008), Cheeky Girls (2008)

31 Jul

One of the great things about MIFF is the Next Gen strand which aims to showcase films for a younger audience. This year’s selection is especially good, ranging from the cleverly animated Coraline to the gritty world of Indonesian fishing platforms!

JERMAL tells the story of a 12 year old boy who is sent to work on the jermal (fishing platform) ruled with an iron fist by his father who at first denies all knowledge of his son. As the film unfolds young Jaya, after initially being ostracised and bullied by the other young boys on the rig, gradually learns the difficult trade on board which involves working with heavy fishing nets and sleeping in harsh dormitory conditions. But, as he’s the only lad on board who can read and write, he’s soon in demand to pen letters home, and it won’t be giving too much away to say that he gradually breaks down his dad’s resistance to the truth.

The film provides a fascinating glimpse into a different, almost Dickensian world of work and play, but is ultimately a heart-warming tale, well told.

 

Cheeky Girls

Cheeky Girls

CHEEKY GIRLS is a colourful German film featuring a cast of good-looking teenage boys and girls going through the whole range of emotions peculiar to that generation! The three cheeky girls variously cast spells on a couple of oddball teachers, progress through a star-search type talent show, and have a huge crush on a relief teacher who then dates the girl’s mother!

Based on a German best-selling book series CHEEKY GIRLS is all good clean fun with a bright and talented cast, sparkling cinematography (with added animation sequences) and the sustained applause of 400 kids at the screening I attended attest to its universal themes of young love!

MIKE CHILDS


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