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In consultation with Square Eyes, the New Zealand International Film Festivals are extending their programming for children at this year's Auckland International and Wellington Film Festivals. A great mix of classic and contemporary films, these sessions are timed perfectly in Auckland to land during the School Holidays. Audiences elsewhere in the country will have the opportunity to catch one of the undoubted highlights of this programme, the classic Errol Flynn swashbuckler, THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD. We look forward to seeing your square eyes at these screenings specially for children - and the kid in all of us!


United States, George Pal
1938, 102 mins
PG low level violence.

"Forget Kevin Costner, Michael Praed, Richard Greene and Disney's fox, this is the only real Robin Hood." - Empire Reviews
Robin Hood

Errol Flynn buckles his swashes in this classic historical action-adventure romp from the Golden Age of Hollywood. The glorious Technicolor photography, superb cast and a succession of dashing set-pieces, all accompanied by a rousing score, make this the definitive screen version of the Robin Hood legend. All the storybook thrills are here in plenty, boisterously decked out with grand pageantry, green tights, peaked feathered hats, and jewel-lined doublets.

The Adventures of Robin Hood is one of those rare studio system movies that started out as a regular genre film and somehow surpassed itself, feeding off a creative energy that generated its own sweeping artistry. It blurs the line of categories to include all types and styles: a swashbuckling action-adventure; a romantic fairy tale full of yearning looks and limpid eyes; a sight-gag comedy with dashing derring-do and hilarious costumes. Coming right down to it though, it's a 65-year-old classic that still holds its rank as a movie among movies.

You know the story. In 12th century Britain, Robin of Locksley gives up his Saxon life of ease and privilege to wage a small-scale war on those evil Normans, lead by the fatuous Prince Johnand the shrewdly unctuous Guy of Gisbourne. In his defining role, Errol Flynn establishes himself as the quintessential Robin Hood, jaunty, dashing, and fearless, while Olivia de Havilland (Maid Marian), Basil Rathbone (Sir Guy of Gisbourne), and Claude Rains (Prince John) shine in supporting roles. Robin's Merry Men of Sherwood Forest are a combination of Keystone Cops and disciplined army who fight and win, but sure go through some clumsy shenanigans to do it - played by a gang of high-end character actors who seem to be having the time of their lives running around in tights while looting the rich and fighting the Normans.

The archetypal Hollywood swashbuckler, THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD is everything big-screen action-adventure should be: rousing, lighthearted, witty, romantic, colorful, moralistic, and richly satisfying.


Hong Kong/China, Stephen Chow, 2008, 88 mins
In Cantonese with English subtitles
PG coarse language


Chinese writer-director-comedian Stephen Chow (SHAOLIN SOCCER, KUNG FU HUSTLE) takes a break from his usual action-comedy adventures for an E.T-inspired tale of family bonds and personal integrity. Chow stars as Ti, a down-on-his luck widower who must funnel all of his wages into the private school education of his nine-year-old son, Dicky (Xu Jiao). The two are reduced to living in an abandoned building and scrounging for necessities, as well as playing nightly games of "clobber the cockroaches." Ti tries to appease Dicky's desire for a trendy new toy by bringing home a mysterious green orb found at a garbage dump. Dicky is soon shocked when the orb transforms into a perky doglike alien being, dubbed 'CJ7.'

When Dicky witnesses CJ7's otherworldly powers he imagines CJ7 to be the answer to all of his school troubles: passing tests, excelling in gym class, and overcoming the school bully. But CJ7 is not as all-powerful as Dicky believes, and when tragedy strikes the family both Dicky and CJ7 must overcome doubt to reveal their true inner strength.

Both CJ7's creature animation and a side order of Chow's kung fu kinetics provide plenty of laughs for the young - but at the same the film's adult themes of social inequality, honesty, and self-sacrifice will give both kids and those accompanying them plenty to discuss once the film is over. Frequently wacky but genuinely heartfelt, CJ7 features enough of Chow's trademark twists to make for a unique all-ages entertainment experience.

"CJ7 is as bracingly clear-eyed as classics like OLD YELLER (1957) in its understanding that innocent fantasy and painful reality are both integral parts of childhood." Maitland McDonagh


Switzerland/Belgium/France/United Kingdom
Frederic Guillaume, Samuel Guillaume, 2007, 76 mins
In French with English subtitles
Recommended ages 7-12

max & co

Young Max visits the town of Saint-Hillaire where he believes that he will finally be reunited with his father, music sensation Johnny Bigoude, who is rumoured to be playing a small venue in the locality.

Fly Swatter manufacturer Bzzz & Co seem to control the whole town and before long, Max is employed by them to play live lift music. Max and new girlfriend Félicie snoop around in order to expose company boss Rudolfo who has brought the company to its knees financially and is responsible for terrible mismanagement. The artificial production of a swarm of flies in order to boost swatter sales is the final straw for the people of Saint-Hillaire but will they be in time to thwart such a dastardly deed?

Switzerland's first stop-motion animated feature is a beautifully made and successfully ambitious project. Using stunningly created figures and an arresting colour palette, directors Frédéric and Samuel Guillaume and animation director Guionne Leroy add superior visuals to a script that has layers of substance.

"... an energetic treat for all audiences, with provocative ideas at its root... discussion outside the cinema will no doubt be centred on the multi-dimensional, memorable characters so honestly rendered on the screen." - Jane Schoettle, Toronto International Film Festival


Total film programme 74 min


France 1956, Dir. Albert Lamorisse 34 mins

Red Balloon
Newly restored and available for the first time in almost a decade, Albert Lamorisse's The Red Balloon remains one of the most beloved children's films of all time. In this deceptively simple, nearly wordless tale, a young boy discovers a stray balloon that seems to have a mind of its own. Wandering through the streets of Paris, the two become inseparable, to the surprise of the neighborhood and the envy of other children. Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival, A RED BALLOON has enchanted the young—and the young at heart—for decades, and it will surely find a new generation of fans with this rerelease.


France, 1953, Albert Lamorisse, 40 min.

In the south of France is a near-desert region called La Camargue. There lives White Mane, a magnificent stallion and the leader of a herd of wild horses too proud to let themselves be broken in by humans. Only Folco, a young fisherman, manages to tame him. A strong friendship grows between the boy and the horse, but they must elude the wrangler and his herdsmen to live freely.

"The ruling response to both movies, whether you're 31 or 13, is awe." - Wesley Morris, The Boston Globe


United States/United Kingdom, George Pal, 1958, 92 mins
In French with English subtitles
Recommended ages 6+

Tom Thumb

Good things do come in small packages! Russ Tamblyn (Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, West Side Story) plays the title role in this playful musical adaptation of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, with upbeat songs (by, among others, Peggy Lee), gleeful villainy by Terry Thomas and Peter Sellers, and magical Oscar-winning Best Special Effects involving dancing shoes and cavorting toys.

When a woodcutter spares a special tree, the Forest Queen wants to repay his kindness. She bestows a precious gift upon the man and his wife, who have always longed for a child of their own - a tiny little boy named tom thumb. Then a dastardly duo plots to rob the village...and the boy no bigger than the size of your thumb becomes a hero, outwitting the thieves and saving the town's riches.

This lively musical comedy, adapted from the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, will delight audiences of all ages, entertaining all with its wealth of fantastic settings and and charming special effects.

"This delightful George Pal musical fantasy is as much fun to view now as it was in those simpler days" - Alan Mount

See our 2011 Film Festivals programme here.
See our 2009 Film Festivals programme here.
See our 2007 Film Festivals programme here.
See our 2006 Film Festivals programme here.

Square Eyes
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All Rights Reserved.