Best Buds | Chicago Reader

Best Buds

Short films about kids who help one another through predicaments. Kay Mastenbroek's Fishing for School, a Dutch-Nigerian coproduction, is an accomplished and emotionally involving tale about a young village girl determined to get an education over the objections of her elders. Mastenbroek presents the girl's situation with clarity and empathy, offering glimpses of colonial social strata that stifle even the most modest ambitions. In Theis & Nico, by Denmark's Henrik Ruben Genz, a seven-year-old prods his older brother into his first kiss, with an immigrant girl from a neighboring apartment tower. Echoes of The Joy Luck Club pervade Elizabeth Sung's uneven The Water Ghost, in which a high school girl copes with the death of her mother, aided by the ghost of a woman who committed suicide after being rejected by her lover. Looks Like Rain is a whimsical German cartoon about a mateless dinosaur who tries to sneak onto Noah's Ark. In Ernie's Big Day, a cutout animation by kindergarten pupils from the Scottish Highlands, a boy gets a chance to meet Queen Victoria.

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