Swallows and Amazons
Panorama | Youth | Contemporary World Cinema
If you are not already familiar with Arthur Ransome’s children’s adventure story (a kid-lit perennial in the UK since 1930), the closest comparison is Tom Sawyer, albeit with a distinctly English accent, or possibly the Narnia books, if the children never ventured into that wardrobe. John, Susan, Tilly and Roger arrive in the Lake District for the summer holidays, and convince mother they can be trusted to sail out to an island and camp overnight. What they don’t know is that "pirates" (actually a couple of girls from a neighbouring farm) have already claimed the island for themselves…
Pippa Lowthorpe’s film is a delightful throwback to a period when children’s imaginations were fuelled by Robert Louis Stevenson and John Buchan, not tech companies. There isn’t an ironic bone in the film’s body, but at the same time it’s very clear about core values that don’t feel at all out of date: getting out into the world; honesty and integrity; family and teamwork; physical endeavour, curiosity and courage.
"A charmingly old-fashioned family adventure—one that you can imagine several generations of a family gathering to watch on a rainy grey Sunday afternoon."—Dave Calhoun, Time Out
Youth Jury Award, Best Feature, Seattle 16