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What to know: Exquisite short that shows the plight of refugees from the point of few from children.
MUSIC BOX, THE is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
Recommended age 12-18
11 minutes
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This exquisitely animated short expresses such chaos and fear. These emotions, brought on by war and many political campaigns, are made perfectly clear in this film about the Great Chinese Cultural Revolution. It shows the scary plight of refugees from the point of view of children. A family is forcibly removed from their home in China by the Red Guard soldiers. The young boy hangs on to his treasured music box, a symbol of Western culture of which the Chinese government is strongly opposed. The animation is beautifully created. The images reflect the Chinese culture with images of people in traditional garb, landscapes and group settings. It includes some dark, shadowy, mysterious scenes which convey the sense of danger and tragedy in this story. The plume of curling red smoke turning into a devilish visage is one of the cool special effects. This is a non-narrative film where the story is told by the images themselves, enhanced by suitable background music. My favorite part is watching a pair of dancing pandas dancing, signifying a simpler, happier time for the boy and his family. I also enjoyed seeing the image of a piano slowly morphing into a white dove. This really is a film that belongs to be seen and is well suited for a film festival environment. It could easily generate some poignant conversation about the Chinese Revolution and current day political situations as well. Truly, this is one of most beautiful animated shorts I have seen in a while. It's not all happy and frolicking though. It does deliver an important message and reflects on society. The message is that music can be a universal messenger of peace in the world. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 16, as well as adults. Reviewed by Jeff M., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer.
The Great Chinese Cultural Revolution was a political campaign in China launched and led by Mao Zedong from 1966 to 1976. Nearly ten million people, including outstanding scientists, artists, intellectuals and ordinary people, died during these "Ten Years of Turnmoil" or "Ten Years of Holocaust." This animated short film is based on a real story and sets in China during the Cultural Revolution in 1967, It is about a young boy Liang Liang, whose family is suddenly taken to the countryside by Red Guards. He is able to grab the only thing he treasures which is a western style music box, and is careful not to expose it to the red guards since it was linked to western culture. The film mirrors tragedies that befall children and families who are forced to leave their homes, due to war, colonization and political campaigns - unfortunately a situation which is all too common today.
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