Movie Nights: Foreign Movies for Children

Movie Nights: Foreign Movies for Children

Séverine Baron
May 21, 2013

We have a weekly Movie Night at our house. It's sacred, and it's the time when we make it a point to discover a new film we haven't seen yet, preferably something that's not mainstream.  

So far we have seen a broad variety of films, whether they be cute, challenging, out there, or even horrible. We all have a big thing for Miyasaki's films, so Totoro is one of our favorites and probably one of yours, but there are others you might not necessarily know. Take a look at my list, most of them have trailers...

1. Le Roi et l'Oiseau. An old French film written by one of the most famous poets of the 20th Century. An odd but charming fable. 

2. Kirikou. This one is a bit like Totoro, a lot of us have seen it, but I can't help it, it's one my kids' favorites, and I don't get tired of watching it!

3. Azur et Asmar. By the same people who made Kirikou, the colors are amazing, the story different from what we usually see. A mythical North African story. 

4. The Triplets of Belleville. This is probably more for older kids, but mine who are under 6 were mesmerized by the strangeness at first but mostly wanted to hear the music. My older nephew however is really into it. 

5. Raising Cats and Frogs. Frogs warn kids about an upcoming deluge. The animation is beautiful, the kids were hypnotized. 

6. A Cat in Paris. Endearing, the animation is also amazing and the story also more mythical set in reality with a nice thief who seems to be born a ninja with his swift moves and a cute girl following her cat on his nocturnal outings. 

7. Un Monstre à Paris. This is one of my kids' favorites. We watch it constantly. They love the music (which was partly created by one of the biggest French stars, -M -, but they also love this monster, a tick which was accidentally blown up and who finds refuge with a Parisian singer. The friendship they show is a nice change of pace compared to the usual necessary romance we see in most animations for kids. There is an English version out there as well, with Sean Lennon's voice.

8. The Cat Returns. A Miyasaki I hadn't heard of before. Really strange, but imaginative as usual with the Studio Ghibli creations. A young girl ends up being the target of the cat king who wants her to marry his prince son. She morphs into a cat but tries to escape the cat world... Once you have seen it, it makes sense! 

9. The Cave of the Yellow Dog. Not an animated movie, this movie takes us to Mongolia, where a little girl learns different life lessons when she finds a stray dog. Her family lives in a yurt in the middle of a beautiful world which fascinated my children. I loved this personally, and really enjoyed showing my kids that life isn't the same everywhere!

10. Peau d'Ane. An old French movie musical. Nowadays the tale appears stranger than when I watched it as a kid. A king wants to marry his own daughter, but of course the daughter doesn't want to and figures out enchanted ways of escaping the kingdom.

11. Rabbit-Proof Fence. This movie is based on a true story of two Australian Aboriginal children taken away from their family as it was the law at some point in history. They are taken from one end of Australia to the other and escape, walking back to their home. This one is also a bit more for older kids as it is a difficult story as much as it is hopeful. It also shows another reality to our Westernized kids.

12. Ushpizin. An interesting story of a couple in Jerusalem in a difficult financial time, visited by convicts at the time of Sukkot, a religious holiday they cannot afford to celebrate how they wish.  

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