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Growing up in France and growing up in Mexico: where do you find a common denominator for these two experiences? This year’s DOCU/YOUNG programme gives an answer to this question and builds thin bridges between the protagonists of the films Things We Dare Not Do and Axel and the true story of an imaginary illness.
What the films’ protagonists have in common are five actions expressed by verbs. They strangely connect these worlds that are so different: a world full of machismo and danger, where freedom of expression exists only within the allowed boundaries, and a fairy-tale, playful experience of a boy who puts on imaginary knight’s armor and a totally real Batman mask to become a hero who is fighting not just illness, but also questionable diagnoses by doctors.
The five verb model, like any other simplified model, does not claim to be comprehensive (after all, we are talking about films, and you need to watch them to make up your own mind).
The first verb that should be noted is talking. Talking to children about illness and any other complex things like little Axel’s parents do. Talking without discounting for age, but trying to find a comprehensible form. Talking in a way that voices the deepest secrets, but also the most important things. Talking about yourself and your wishes like Arturo, the protagonist of Things We Dare Not Do, does.
This productive talking is preceded by “a thousand li path” which does not start with a small step, but rather with a small doubt. Axel’s parents doubt that the boy’s illness is imaginary or imagined, and Arturo doubts that his identity will be accepted not just by his fellow villagers, but even by his own parents.
Doubts are the trigger that allows the protagonists to understand what they want and what is happening to them, and it invites the audience to trust both the authors and their protagonists. So if you dare to do it, look into these worlds that are so different but, at the same time, so similar.
You can watch the films from the programme at the DOCUSPACE online cinema.
Header photo: A still from Things We Dare Not Do.
Text: festival programmer Alex Malyshenko.
The 18 Docudays UA is supported by the Embassy of Sweden in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation and the State Film Agency of Ukraine.