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  Yuki & Nina Two best friends run away from divorcing parents to magical refugeBuy this film here.
Year: 2009
Director: Hippolyte Girardot, Nobuhiro Suwa
Stars: Hippolyte Girardot, Tsuyu Shimizu, Noë Sampy, Arielle Moutel, Marilyne Canto
Genre: Drama, Adventure
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Screening at the French Cinema Now Festival 2009

“Children think that their parents are weird,” utters French father (Hippolyte Girardot) as he talks to his daughter about why he and his Japanese wife (Tsuyu Shimizu) will soon separate. Most of the time he would be right about how children view their parents. The child in this case 9-year-old Yuki (Noë Sampy) can’t often understand why, or rather pourquoi, this situation unfolds in front of her eyes. She and her best friend Nina (Arielle Moutel) do everything to prevent the breakup from discussing where to buy a love potion, to creating a card sent from the love fairy all in an effort to get the parents to reconcile. When that fails, Yuki and Nina do what any kid living in any part of the world would do – run away from home. The two imaginative souls run off to a forest outside of Paris where a sort of magical realism occurs. After exploring and getting lost in the forest, Tia finds herself magically transported to the Japanese countryside with her mom and her new friends in her new Japanese life.

Co-Directors Hippolyte Girardot, Nobuhiro Suwa (A Perfect Couple; Paris, je t’aime) create a CPOV (Child’s Point of View) where a majority of the film comes via kids eye level. The cinematography immediately sets the tone for the film. The directors also get excellent performances from the two children who get a lot of magical mileage from their expressions and body language.

The whole divorce set-up, although necessary, seems somewhat stilted and melodramatic. The film elevates its level when the children wander on their own in the “magical” forest away from the adults. Films about children often run of emotion, and maybe because parents are “weird” causes the emotion to waver through the film’s first half, while the true magic of this film happens amongst the forest trees.
Reviewer: Keith Rockmael


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