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I Am Eleven - Film Review

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by Anna Rasztabiga (subscribe)
I am a writer who enjoys the arts and media. Writing and communicating are a great way to join other writers and I am happy to be on this team.
Published July 17th 2012

I Am Eleven needs and deserves your love and support. As do the the children in the film who share their thoughts about their lives and the state of the world. Director, Genevieve Bailey has made a gem of a film.

The children's intelligence and awareness shines through as they go about their daily lives. Love for their families and people is shown, as is their view of planet earth and the need to care for its inhabitants, albeit on a larger scale and beyond the representative children's communities.

Theirs is a common thread of unity running across borders - they speak about their lives and how the planet can be improved and become a better place, so that all its citizens can benefit.

Basic needs for food and shelter are expressed, as well as aspirations and ambitions - not all lofty as expected. They are feisty and creative - showing their artistry and doing what they know best - being children.

The first note of music and they are off and dancing to the rhythm. In Morocco, a small boy, beside his 'big" bossy 11 year old sister, leads the little group of dancers as his bare toes hit the clay dust and laughter and happiness shows on all their faces.

Many of the children lean towards wanting to be accomplished writers and artists in dance and other creative avenues - surprising as those roads often can frighten even the most stout-hearted. They are not discouraged. They are willing to take the ride and the risks involved - in their 11th year, anyhow.

Add a year or two and the practical side of their natures overtakes those desires for some of the girls and boys. Now, there are career considerations for: nursing, animal welfare and even being an elephant-boy to the closely knit elephant group he trains and to the special beast who playfully trains him; to another boy working for a NGO and looking after the elephants - he sees that work will be meaningful, serious and worthy of his time. (The images of the baby elephants will make you coo - they are so cool).

The children: they run, squabble and grapple with the confusion of growing up, wanting and not wanting to be part of groups, denying and defying parents and tutors and refusing to being pigeon-holed. Yet, they know the day will come when they will have to face the realities unfolding in front of their eyes - about their lives, about people, the way the world works and the many demands and responsibilities of life which will surely come.
Questions are the focus of this doco.

The child from France will stun you with his wisdom - a leader in the making.

The American children have been given deep food for thought - you could sense the cogs turning in their brains, as Bailey beckoned them to look beyond their homeland and extend their thinking to encompass a world perspective.

The Japanese girl will reach for excellence in her aspiration to be a pastry chef. (And, how she studies! Long after formal school hours are past).

Hip-hop excites the young - they see it as a top form of self-expression and a great way to make it through the maze of everyday life.

Saying words - loud and proud and seeing that style of music as a perfect platform to vent and relay their feelings. Slang and rhyme -letting it out without censoring or inhibition helps these children. It also takes away their shyness. They are performers - one and all. Naturals.

Australian Films need us. Director Genevieve Bailey (Proud Mother Films) thanks people in advance and requests that we "spread the word about I Am Eleven. Some suggestions are ... share the trailer with 11 friends, people you knew when you were 11, family, school and workmates. Take someone on a date to see the film".

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Why? I Am Eleven needs and deserves your love and support.
When: July 2012
Where: Selected Cinemas
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