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Evergreen Film by Christine L. Pollock



If retro is all the rage in the fashion world, why not in media, also? I pondered as I heard my children defending one of their favorite shows (Andy Griffith) to a friend who is only interested current movies. There is a wealth of information to be garnered from media that has spanned generations. It is a priceless moment when a parent or grandparent snuggles with their child/grandchild and watches a classic film. While the child is learning about a bygone era, the older generation reminisces about the first time they saw the film. My daycare children are endlessly amused by the fact that my husband saw the first Land before Time film in the movie theater. Each time a new film comes out, the kids let us grownups know, and we all enjoy the new film together.

In this fast-paced world, it might be difficult to imagine that the child would want to sit down with one of the slower moving stories of the past. I challenge you to give it a try. At one point last year, as part of a homeschooling effort, I showed my three boys several versions of the film, Heidi, after we read the book. To my great surprise, their favorite version was the 1937 version starring Shirley Temple. The next time we went to the local library, they found another film starring Shirley Temple. They brought it home and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was to our great delight that we discovered a Shirley Temple film highlighted in the KIDS FIRST!® Film Festival. As we've reviewed the title, my boys were asking questions about the actress. They were surprised to find out that she was even older than I. We were able to talk about Temple's political career, which led to an interesting discussion on various child actors and what happened to them as they grew older, along with the phenomenon of typecasting and how actors fight that. Captain January is available to Film Festival providers this fall.

Another "remake" title, we have in our Film Festival is Alice in Wonderland. This story comes to life in a way it never has before with jolly, witty songs by Steve Allen and more than a dozen Hollywood stars. The cinematography is phenomenal. It is almost worth viewing the film just to see the artistry of the animated dragon. It was so realistic, my nine-year-old was asking if perhaps dragon's really do exist. I jokingly responded by asking the children if they had ever seen a story about it on Reading Rainbow, another classic title.

Although it is always fun and interesting to see the new technology and edgy stories emerge, sometimes it's nice to remember the mores of the past. Actor Daniel Roebuck put it rather well when he was talking about films he wanted his children to see. Roebuck is concerned about the message we are getting our children. Popular media such as a reality shows make it seem like the only way to survive is a dog eat dog world. After a long day on the set, Roebuck was exhausted, but took the time to go to a classic film festival. As he puts it, if people do not show support for the films with good morals, they might become obsolete. Where do you go to find a classic films so you can support them and their distributors? Even if you live in a rural area, it is still possible. Our family finds a lot of the classics in the local dollar stores. And, of course, you can go to the KIDS FIRST!® website and find out when our film Festival is in your area. This site will even tell you which titles are showing. Check it out at Perhaps resurrecting the magic of evergreen film will ignite a positive flame in the future of children's film. As writer Margaret Fairless Barber sums up, "To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it the more fit for its prime function of looking forward."


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