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We Are Little Zombies

(Japan) Four kids meet and become connected when their parents are being cremated. The film starts out with the stories of what happened to their parents. Unable to deal with the grief associated with their loss, the kids form a band, Little Zombies. This is a film that is hard to describe adequately. It is a coming of age story. It is a film about young kids trying to deal with their feelings in the face of significant loss. It is also one of those movies about kids who form a band, create tunes that you cannot shake from your head, and become famous. There are some wonderful things about the film. The filming and camerawork are very inventive – the photographer captures the kids in motion from different and unusual angles. The shifting camerawork keeps the film moving forward and fun. One of the kids serves as the narrator, and he ensures you are never very far from the core of the friends’ feelings. The screenplay is very well done; on the surface, it is one of those kid’s programs that preteens watch on TV. But the stories of the kids and how they deal with their emotions (or lack of) feel very real and have substantial depth. And, of course, that song that just sticks in your brain. Big thumbs up for me for a film that is inventive, thoughtful, and insightful and told completely through the eyes of the kids experiencing loss. I loved it. (2019; 4 Stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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