Seven excited ten and eleven year olds head off to Paris from the small Lincolnshire village of Woodhall Spa for three days. They come armed with various bits of technology to while away the time on their long journey along with a smattering of a few French phrases – most of which involve buying ice cream – and bags of enthusiasm about their film that will be shown on the big screen .
None of the trip disappoints which includes: a visit to Notre Dame; an evening stroll to the Louvre; an energetic game of tig at the Tuileries in the twilight; a hike to the top of the Eiffel Tower; many squashed metro rides and ice creams various – not to mention the whole Cent ans de Jeunesse experience of watching, thinking, questioning and talking about the many films we saw over the day and a half we spent at the cinema. The children’s film, ‘A Brief Case’ and the group’s presentation film seemed to be enjoyed by the audience. A group of French children, after the screening, told us how fascinated they were by the scenes shot in the cinema as it looked so unsual with the organ and old fashioned foyer – it reminded us of why we chose it in the first place – as more of a fictional film set in which to set up the narrative than a ‘real’ place. The children did really well answering questions posed by the audience – several of which focused on their decision to play adult roles within the film. This wasn’t something any of them had considered when making the film – it was just a natural part of the story they wanted to tell. Max’s answer to this -that it made the fiction even more fictitious – was an interesting insight into what the group had learnt during the project. It would be interesting now to ask the children, after watching the other films, whether they felt this decision also made the real in their film appear less real to the audience, as these imaginary characters interact with real people and spaces around them.
Many of the films that the children particularly enjoyed had a strong, clear narrative such as ‘Dear Diary’ and ‘The Key’ but they were equally as fascinated with the ‘real’ scenes from Guadeloupe’s carnival and the Marseilles squid.
A great three days which is shown in the pictures below – followed by the children’s presentation film and ‘A Brief Case’ which, unfortunately, the LNS boys didn’t get to see.