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Journey to Yourland - Film Review (Children's International Film Festival 2023)

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Images © Bfilm, Plutoon, The Pack, Rozhlas a televízia Slovenska

Directed by Peter Budinsky and from Belgium, Czech Republic, and Slovakia, Journey to Yourland is 85 mins long and spoken in English, so there are no subtitles to read. Recommended for ages 8 plus, do note there are some low-level crude language and frightening scenes that may not be suitable for sensitive viewers. This film is part of CHIFF (Children's International Film Festival) which will run from 27 May to 12 June 2023. Check out the program because you're bound to find something for everyone in the family.

Ten-year-old Riki moves to a new home with his mum, and his father is never there when he needs him. From his new apartment, he spots a mysterious emergency signal. When he goes to investigate, it seems to be coming from a stone that ends up merging with Riki by hiding in his heart and asking for protection. Riki decides to run away from home to go on a mission and is swooped up by this strange artefact that takes him to a parallel world of Yourland. It's filled with machines that roam golden deserts, monkeys and ravens that talk and science coexists with nature. However it seems everyone in Yourland wants Riki's newfound treasure that's powering his heart as it's the core of Yourland's power, and whoever owns it wields that power. Riki wants to pass it on to the rightful owner but who can he trust? Tidling a monkey general? Emma whom he has befriended?, or Metal Man the mighty robot?

A lonely little boy who is always fearful with a weak heart, Riki's mind is filled with fantastical imaginations. He loves robots and creates magical, imaginative scenarios in his mind where he lives. One day, upon seeing a light signal, the stone, Riki finds he has to fend off the stone and himself from large Ravens who chase him till he falls into a pit. From there, the magical stone transports him to a steampunk-ish world where everything is as Riki would imagine. There he meets Emma, who is on a mission of her own to find the heart of her home to save Yourland, along with Tidling, the monkey general.

A great little animation, quite engagingly created, characters like Riki will find their way into your heart. He has an emotive back story that'll tug at your heartstrings, and his imaginative world will be a discovery of well thought out robotics that's a pleasure to witness unfolding. The story traverses a concrete world to a 'Waterworld' (Kevin Costner sci-fi movie) type environment, with gorgeous steampunk esq homes and vehicles that just add to this imaginative fantasy that touches on trust issues. It also keeps you guessing for a moment or two as to whether you're living in reality, or if you're in Riki's imaginative world when he fell into the pit. This is one that'll delight the whole family, no doubt, especially the kids, so be sure to catch it.

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Why? Journey to Yourland @ CHIFF 2023 - Film Review
When: 27 May to 11 June 2023
Where: Melbourne and Sydney, Australia
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