Programmed by Amélie Pavel
This series explores psychedelic children's films from the early 20th century to now. These films feature an emphasis on sumptuous and colorful visuals coupled with the breaking of the fourth wall that produce an expansion of the consciousness through poetic distancing of the viewer. Parallel to the viewer's distancing is the disorientation of the main character: in these films, an important theme is being transported to another foreign land or place, where space and time work differently and pressure the main character into reevaluating their belief systems and understanding of the world.
Among these titles are the cult classics The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, The Neverending Story, and The Princess Bride. These are the films that shaped our collective imagination, that, upon reviewing, transport us to another time and place, another dimension of our consciousness: our childhood. Other, lesser known titles make up this series as well: Fantastic Planet, Kirikou and the Sorceress, and The Point. These films are made for children, but can very much be enjoyed by adults.
· (Rob Reiner, 1987) ·
Rob Reiner's infamous cult classic The Princess Bride tells a thrilling and tender story of romance, adventure, and vengeance. Framed as a grandfather telling his bedridden grandson a story, the film focuses on farmhand Westley (Cary Elwes in his most beloved role) and Princess Buttercup (the ethereal Robin Wright), weaving together an unforgettable cast of heroic bandits, verbose outlaws, and odious royals in the fictional kingdom of Florin.
runtime: 98m format: 35mm
· (René Laloux, 1973) ·
Made in 1973 at the height of psychedelia, Fantastic Planet tells the story of a humanity domesticated by giant blue humanoids called "Draags." Captured as an infant, Terr is pampered and tormented by his adolescent keeper until his discovery of the Draags' transcendental knowledge casts him into the mystical world beyond. This kaleidoscopic blend of sci-fi and pop art visuals comes with a soundtrack that is a spacy mellotron wah-wah lover's dream.
runtime: 72m format: DCP
· (Fred Wolf, 1971) ·
Rare 16mm print! This legendary animated film, narrated by Ringo Starr and written to accompany Harry Nilsson's eponymous 1971 album, tells the story of round-headed Oblio, who discovers that even in the fantastical kingdom of pointed heads, his life is far from pointless. Both the film and the album were inspired by a revelatory LSD trip, and the aesthetics can attest to this. Despite its cult following, the film has never had a theatrical release.
runtime: 74m format: 16mm
· (Victor Fleming, 1939) ·
Starring sixteen-year-old Judy Garland, the 1939 adaption of L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz follows Dorothy and her dog Toto as they are swept away from their Kansas home and into the magical land of Oz. The subject of countless cultural treatises and simulacra, nothing will ever eclipse the original tale of flying spider monkeys, the Wicked Witch of the West, and the man behind the silver screen. Follow us on the yellow brick road to Emerald City!
runtime: 102m format: 35mm
· (Brad Bird, 1999) ·
Beloved children's filmmaker Brad Bird plucked the heartstrings of children and adults alike with his 1991 directorial debut, The Iron Giant. Animated in traditional 2-D and set in the Cold War era, the movie tells the touching story of nine-year-old Hogarth Hughes and the giant alien robot whom he befriends as they try to protect the robot from the FBI and United States military. The film has garnered a cult following since its release.
runtime: 86m format: 35mm
· (Wolfgang Petersen, 1984) ·
Based on the 1979 novel of the same name, The Neverending Story opens with the introduction of the young Bastian Bux, who seeks refuge from bullies in a bookstore. This classic 1984 children's film is framed around a book Bastian finds in the shop: the story of a young warrior who must fight off the dark forces of "The Nothing" from taking over his magical homeland. This film is acclaimed German filmmaker Wolfgang Petersen's English language debut.
runtime: 102m format: 35mm
· (Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, 1951) ·
Perhaps the original psychedelic children's story, Lewis Carroll's _Alice in Wonderland_ is the classic nonsense novel, following the young Alice on her journey through a disorienting fantasy world. The novel has inspired generations of psychedelic narrative art, including Disney's 1951 movie adaptation. Follow us down the rabbit hole to meet the eclectic cast of characters including the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, and the odious Queen of Hearts!
runtime: 75m format: DCP
· (Vincent Ward, 1998) ·
Vincent Ward's 1998 fantasy drama, What Dreams May Come tells the story of Chris Nielsen (Robin Williams), his life after death, and his spirit guide through purgatory. After a fatal car crash, Chris tries to help his widow cope with his death, in this impressionistic and painterly depiction of loss and grief. The film was shot on Fuji Velvia film and credited for its vivid color reproduction, resulting in the 1998 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.
runtime: 117m format: 35mm
· (Michel Ocelot, 1998) ·
35mm print! Inspired by West African folktales, Kirikou and the Sorceress tells the story of Kirikou, a tiny but spirited newborn, and his quest to save his village from the sorceress Karaba and her army of enchanted "fetishes." Directed by Michel Ocelot, one of France's most acclaimed animated filmmakers, Kirikou and the Sorceress paints a tale of adventure, love, magic, and the power of redemption in beautiful colors and animated montages.
runtime: 71m format: 35mm