The cinema of the past year was rich in stories about the challenges of youth, with such Academy Award-nominated films as Call Me By Your Name, Lady Bird and The Florida Project. I’ve been drawn to some brilliant coming-of-age films screening at the Festival that bring the experiences of youth to life. As in this year’s Oscar nominees, these films depict unusual relationships with authority figures.
Promise At Dawn tells the story of Romain Gary, one of France’s most iconic novelists, growing up with a mother pushing him to achieve greatness. Gary is played beautifully by Pierre Niney, the youngest actor ever to receive a César Award (a French Academy Award).
In his first feature film Doubtful, Eliran Eliyah focuses on the development of a special bond between a troubled inner-city youth and his teacher.
One of the biggest surprises for me was Five Years After the War, and the interview of a young Parisian whose father, while absent, remains at the heart of his imagination. The filmmakers have done a splendid job recreating his inner world thru animation.
In these films, we experience the characters’ self-doubt and self-reflection while sharing the story with them.
On a different note, the Israeli TV show Juda is a personal favourite in this year’s line-up, where the world of vampires and gangsters intertwine in the streets of Tel Aviv.