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What to know: Delves into subject of gender norms and how girls and boys are supposed to behave.
FREAK FLAG is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
Recommended age 12-18
12 minutes
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Yes! I wholeheartedly recommend this for the KIDS FIRST! Film Festivals. It delves into the subject of gender norms and how young girls and boys are supposed to act in a very touching way. For example, all Abeline wants to do is sword fight with her brother and have a pet lizard. According to her mother, these activities are unsuitable for her and she implies that those activities are best suited to boys. It is frustrating to see these gender norms still so present in today's society, especially in schools. This film, however, breaks those norms and encourages children to be who they are. It truly touched me, because I really felt Abeline's pain and could easily decipher the emotions she was feeling. The film encourages children who feel they are misfits, to be their own person and to be true to themselves. I love how this film tackles the subject of identity because, when you are a kid, you do not exactly know who you are yet and you are figuring out who you want to be. This film beautifully portrays a young girl who does not fit in and will not conform to the norm generally associated with being a girl. The production quality is quite good. The sound quality is really on point, but what stands out is the visual quality, which is absolutely spectacular. I love that the director chose to film with a RED camera because the cinematography is beautiful and the lighting is fantastic. Also, the score is fabulous. The dialogue is always clear and easy to understand. The locations are spot on. I particularly enjoyed the scene where Abeline runs into the woods. The cinematography is truly a pleasure to watch. There are a few shots that really stand out such as when Abeline gets a hair cut by her mother and we see Abeline through the round mirror she is staring into. Another shot that sticks out is when Abeline accidentally hits a bird when she is in the woods and the camera shows her lying on the ground next to the bird in an extreme close-up shot. It is memorable. Also, when Abeline is being scolded by her teacher, the camera focuses on her teacher, then on her and, in a surprising twist, we see a shot of her mother in place of her teacher. I would have liked to see more development of the relationship between Abeline and her mother, possibly accepting that she does not want to be just a pretty princess, but rather a warrior. The film flows very well and is easy to understand. The concepts are appropriate for the recommended age. The quality of this film goes above and beyond my expectations for a short film. I highly recommend it to KIDS FIRST! because it incorporates themes of breaking gender norms and being true to yourself. I think that older children who have more of a sense of identity will enjoy and relate to this film best. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Reviewed by Chandler D and Julie S. KIDS FIRST! Adult Jurors.
Freak Flag follows Abeline, an imaginative 8-year-old stifled by societal norms. She is under intense pressure from her Mother, school teacher and peers; she is not 'girly' enough for the girls and women, and not 'boyish' enough to be accepted by her male classmates. Abeline decides to push back and assert her independence by doing whatever her heart desires. She chops off her hair, changes her name to Brian, and refuses to cow. Eventually she realizes that pretending to be someone else stifles her as much as molding herself to society's expectations. She becomes her true self and does not fit in with either the boys nor the girls. But, she doesn't care. She is her own person. She can let her freak flag fly
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