There's a lot of talk these days about nature deficit disorder, the idea that many children (and adults) today don't get enough contact time with nature and suffer for that in terms of poorer physical, mental and emotional well being.
Two films in the Edinburgh International Film Festival focus on children who spend a lot of time in nature, but that doesn't mean they don't have problems!
Of Skies and Earth focusses in the lives of four young Filipino boys who have left home for various reasons and are living in an abandoned hut in the countryside. They seem very self sufficient but need to go into the nearby town to look for work. They really struggle to make any money at all until they wheedle their way into working at the local slaughterhouse (cue some gruesome scenes for the vegetarians amongst us). This doesn't all go according to plan and the boys find themselves drifting into petty crime and sniffing solvents. What seems at the beginning like an almost idyllic life is shown to be a gateway into something much less appealing.
There's an interesting conversation at one point between two of the boys, the younger one of whom wants to stop looking for work in the city and return to their mountain home where it's beautiful and peaceful but the older one disagrees and says the city is better, as there are more people and more jobs (though those people are unfriendly and the jobs hard to find!).
Kid Thing is a disturbing film about a child who is basically out of control. Annie lives on a goat farm in the USA, with her father, who pays her very little attention. She spends a lot of time in the local woods, where her favourite activities seem to be destroying trees and squashing insects. One day she comes across a woman who has fallen down a well. Is this Annie's opportunity to learn some positive attitudes towards other people?
These films are part of Edinburgh International Film Festival. There are no more showings of either film.
Disclaimer: I have a press pass for the Edinburgh International Film Festival and attended free press screenings of these films.
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