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BLACK MILL, THE

What to know: THE BLACK MILL is modern scary story for kids, referring to classic fairy tales of Brother Grimm or Jan Christian Andersen and modern series like Stranger Things on other hand.
BLACK MILL, THE is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
Recommended age 13-18
100 minutes
FeatureFilm
WOJIECH STUCHLIK
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I like The Black Mill as it has an amazing sense of suspense and kept me on the edge of my seat! The storyline is full of surprises and plot twists. It was very gripping and made me want to know what was going to happen next. There are also many relatable plot points, which makes it a good watch for most ages.

After a devastating fire, the local mill lies untouched. Widowed, Iwo's mother is left responsible for him and Mela, who needs extra care. But after many mysterious occurrences, it is up to Iwo, Mela and his band of courageous friends to discover what really happened at the Black Mill.

I love how hard it was to predict what would happen next. The story is creative, adventure-packed, and does not fall into the common trap of predictability. The writers keep the story moving nicely, making sure to eliminate unnecessary plot points that could confuse watchers.

I particularly like scenes at the beginning, when the camera is partially submerged in the lake. This really gives a sense of reality, as one can picture oneself there. There are also lots of scenes with low light, giving a sense of suspense as it is hard to see what is going on. This helps viewers feel the same fear that the character in the film are feeling. The setting at the apartment building is realistic; it looks slightly run down, but still sturdy. I also really like the set of the mill, both before the explosion and after. This is because it is vast and also black and white which is a positive because it matches the same sad feeling of the scene. Throughout the film, the same musical theme is played in tones such as sad, suspenseful and happy. This helps us tie the story together and carry it along. The special effects where Mela is flying and fighting the fire are poorly executed and not believable. Iwo, played by Iwo Wicinski, is a very relatable character. We watch him go through a personal journey from self-importance to empathy and compassion, and Wicinski, though relatively young at the time, shows these emotions perfectly. His sister, played by Pola Galica Galoch, discovers her true strength and defends her family fiercely. Pola embodies these views of strength well, and shows emotion very well. Iwo's friends, played by Michal Lupa, Oliwia Ogorzelska and Mateusz Winek, play the classic role of young friends. They portray traits such as loyalty, bravery, and intelligence. There are some popular polish actors in this film, such as: Marcin Dorocinski (Iwo's father), Magdalena Niec (Iwo's mother) and Ireneusz Koziol (Mr Marian).

The message of this film is that sometimes people who don't seem useful to you can be powerful, and that people gain strength in times of crisis. It does show children rebelling against their parents and putting themselves in dangerous situations.

My favorite part of this film is the ending, as it shows all characters coming to a personal conclusion such as young Mela learning how to walk, and Mama Iwa owning her own bakery.

I give this film 4 out of 5 starts and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. This is a good film for older children and parents, but not so much for younger children as there are potentially scary scenes. Reviewed by Maddy T., KIDS FIRST!

A unique story full of many twists and with a heartwarming ending, The Black Mill is a great movie that holds suspense and intrigue for the viewer, with the ultimate message of what family is really about and how grief can really impact a family's wellbeing.

Iwo is a young child who has lost his father in a tragic accident at the local mill. He lives with his mother and his mentally disabled sister, which he resents for the conditions of which his life has turned. After mysterious disappearances in the city, Iwo and his group of friends decide to discover what or who is behind all the mess.

The story is well constructed; it really shows the emotional development of Iwo and his attitude towards his family. He starts out resenting his mother and, especially, his sister. But, as the story develops and all the twists that happen, he learns what is really important in life. Also, the story has unique takes on themes such as grief, sadness, unemployment and the unknown.

The camerawork is well done. The locations are beautiful, because most are in natural locations in Germany where the film is from. There are scenes with breathtakingly beautiful forests and lakes and others show life in an area a bit isolated from the rest of the city. The background music and sound effects definitely are perfect in how they add to the suspense of the film. Each time something interesting or completely unexpected is about to happened, the music turns low, slow or soft to create the effect of suspense and intrigue. Mariusz Palej directs the film; Magdalena Niec is the writer and Wojciech Stuchlik is the producer. All should be commended for their excellent work. The actors are not credited.

I have two favorite parts of this film. The first is all the breathtaking scenes of the forests, the lakes, and the little houses that are part of their daily lives. The other is the ending, as it shows the meaning behind the entire journey that the characters experience and shows that we need to appreciate our unique and different family experiences. It brought tears of joy to my eyes.

The message of the film is to value our families, even when our situation is different from other families. In this case, Iwo learns to accept and appreciate his sister Mela, who is mentally disabled. Throughout the movie, we learn to understand the Mela's uniqueness and how she actually is primordial for the well-being of the family and other members of the small community. Sometimes in life we have unexpected situations that we cannot control, but we can control how we react to them. This movie made me appreciate my family and celebrate the differences that I have with my brothers or my parents, because those differences are what makes us humans and connects us to one another. You should know that there is some mild profanity and it shows kids doing risky things that other kids might imitate. Also, almost everyone in this movie uses the "r-word" to refer to Mela, which is not politically correct and may be seem as a slur towards people with disabilities.

I give The Black Mill 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. This film is highly entertaining and I was intrigued and expectant throughout the entire duration. I was not expecting some of the twists, which made it even better. The only thing I would say is that the film contains some strong language and scenes that may be too shocking for little children, so I would recommend it for older teenagers and adults. Reviewed by David O., KIDS FIRST!

THE BLACK MILL is modern scary story for kids, referring to classic fairy tales of Brother Grimm or Jan Christian Andersen and modern series like Stranger Things on other hand. Group of teenagers have to face and fight the mysterious forces. Also learn what can help them most in their uneasy life: friendship, empathy and love. As well as acceptance of poverty and disabilities. Film gives safe adrenaline rush to the young viewers and helps them to face difficulties in complex real life situations.

Twelve year old Iwo lives in a small, post-communist town. With destroyed Black Mill - once a place of work for many parents. Breaking the promise to not approach the old mill - the children accidentally unleash its evil powers. From that moment nothing will ever be the same again. Objects and adults start to disappear.

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