This incredibly powerful documentary by Belfast director Mark Cousins had an experimental feel to it. He took some hand-held video cameras to a small village in Iraq and handed them out to some of the young children to let them film their lives.
What followed was full of brilliant imagery and emotional story telling from the children themselves, focusing on their surroundings and stories from their imaginations, which prompts Cousins to reflect on his own upbringing in Belfast.
The director said in a post-show Q&A session that he needed to prove his cinematography skills in order to secure funding, and the result is some of the very best cinematography I have ever seen – long panoramic shots, close images of wildlife, and one particular scene involving the children playing with balloons were stunningly good cinema.
The film ultimately tries to tell us how film can influence and change lives, and it was an emotional and incredibly inspirational piece of film that deserves wider distribution.
This was the final film we saw at the Belfast Film Festival and what a way to end. It has been a brilliant two weeks and we have seen some fantastic films and listened to some interesting discussions. Hopefully the success of this year’s festival will lead to an even bigger event next year. In the meantime, the QFT is showing some of the festival films again over the next month or two so I may update my blog in the future with some other reviews.
The First Movie (2009): 5/5