Photo courtesy of Attraction Distribution
Fortune Favors the Brave_MSPIFF
Fortune Favors the Brave (96 min., recommended for ages 9 and older)
The Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival is back for its 36th year, and this year’s family selection is packed with friendship, charm, and bravery. There’s adventure aplenty on the silver screen, and we broke it down so you can best pick the one(s) your family will enjoy.
The film festival highlights work from more than 70 countries this year. English subtitles will be provided for every foreign script.
Here are three reasons to see the Childish Short Films showing right off the bat: 1) It’s for all ages. 2) It’s free. 3) The shorts cover a broad range of topics and geography. With 10 mini films in one 50-minute show, Childish Short Films is an excellent compilation whether this is your family’s first foray into MSPIFF or you’ve been coming for years. You will see a bat wondering who to play with at night, a boy trying to find his goldfish some clean water, a light bulb thought trying to change itself into a big idea, and more.
Both films in this group follow children as they travel across the Europe’s wild landscapes on their own during World War II, but there’s no confusing one with the other.
In Belle & Sebastian: The Adventure Continues (97 min., recommended for ages 7 and older), a boy and his best friend (think a giant, fluffy white Pyrenean mountain dog) set out on a rescue mission to find their friend Angélina after her plane crashed in the French Alps. Along the way, a meeting with a grizzly bear, employment at an Italian logging camp, and more weave themselves into a journey that’s as timeless as it is loving.
Fanny’s Journey (94 min., recommended for ages 12 and older) is based on a true story about how eleven-year-old Fanny led a group of children across the countryside to the safety of the Swiss border. You only need to see a glimpse of the two-minute trailer to be captivated by this story of bravery and perseverance.
There are hijinks afoot in Mr. Frog (90 min., recommended for ages 6 and older) and How to Steal a Dog (109 min., recommended for ages 8 and older). After all, it’s not easy to hide the fact your favorite teacher turns into a frog. Nor is it easy to steal a rich person’s dog and claim the reward money—especially when you’re not the only trying to do so. If you’re looking for some heartwarming whimsy, some shenanigans, or a bit of both, definitely take in one of these films in with your family.
Moving can be difficult, but the transition’s easier for seven-year-old Dylan when the community is welcoming, the culture is thriving, and he can hunt for historic treasure among baby sea turtles and hermit crabs. To be fair, not everyone can claim Mexico’s Pacific Coast as their backyard like the children in Tesoros (96 min., recommended for ages 7 and older), but that doesn’t stop the other films in this group from highlighting the wonderful things that make up everyday life.
A pairing of documentaries shows how music can change us. Kojo: A Short Documentary (14 min.) takes a look at how a 12-year-old boy’s soul and passion manifests itself in his jazz drumming. From there, the documentary Let’s Get the Rhythm (54 min., recommended for ages 7 and older) brings us to girls’ handclapping games on the playgrounds of New York, and their global history.
In Fortune Favors the Brave (96 min., recommended for ages 9 and older), eleven-year-old Linh runs the family restaurant, takes care of her younger sister, and makes sure the police and social service officers don’t find out their mother isn’t living with them at the moment. It’s hard, but she’s managing. Things get a little trickier when their neighbor Pauline finds out and asks the sisters to form a Pippi Longstocking-inspired gang with her, though.
Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival. April 13-29, tickets $6-13 with multi-screening passes available, various locations, mspfilm.org