by Fien Troch
As they’re forced to live with their aunt and uncle, a young boy and his brother deal with their parents gone in different ways.
I’m not here to bash the film. I really just want to talk about my experience watching the film, mainly because I think that the way you watch a film can, to a certain extent, influence whether or not you like the film. Watching a horror movie, for example, with six friends around you in the daylight won’t make you feel the same way as if you were watching it alone in the dark.
I don’t think, however, that if I had been watching Kid, a drama, with six friends around me it would have made me think any differently of the film. I didn’t like the film because it dragged. And dragged. And dragged some more. There were great little moments that made me smile. There were a few scenes that made me laugh out loud (though clearly not as much as those around me). There were even parts that shocked me and kept me intrigued. But that was a total of about six minutes throughout the entire film. The rest of it was, to be frank, annoying.
But before I delve into what annoyed me about Fien Troch’s stylistic choices, I’ll tell you a little bit about my experience watching the film.
I didn’t get to go to AFI Fest last year since I worked the entire American Film Market, which runs the same exact week. (Why won’t they change this?!) This year, I had forgotten about registering to get the tickets. Luckily, my coworker let me use one of her tickets. When I got to the theatre, it took a while to find Chinese Theatre 5. It was a little frustrating trying to find it, but I’m used to having to find myself around places. Once I got inside the main lobby (and walked through the lines marked off for all other theatres), I was able to find my way with the help from an AFI volunteer.
I went inside and picked my seat and made myself comfortable. Then, an older lady rudely asked me to move one seat over. I hesitated because there are better ways to approach people. She quickly apologized and said she has a friend coming and needed two seats next to each other. Fine, I thought. At least she said she was sorry. We sat one seat apart, and then she started arguing with the woman next to her, something about the older lady having her cell phone on.
Oh boy. It’s going to be one of those screenings.
Fortunately, they stopped talking once the film began. And to make matters worse (or, hey, better), the woman left not fifteen minutes into the film. As I sat through the movie I realized that if I had it in me to leave a movie halfway through, this would be one of those films. I didn’t because every movie deserves a chance since a) the ending could be amazing 2) I’m a filmmaker and know that even the shittiest movies take a lot of work to accomplish and 3) I get inspired in everything I see, whether good or bad. There’s something to learn through everything I’m exposed to.
And what I learned was that Troch’s focus is always on what happens in the foreground, never the background. It annoyed me to see people in the background standing still, without any regard to being characters themselves. Kid’s world, then, felt forced and unnatural. It took me out of the narrative and made me focus on camera placement (which isn’t always a bad thing—but in this case it was). It sucked to be taken out of his element, because when I, as a spectator, had to feel emotion for Kid when he was expressing his pain, I couldn’t. And I wanted to. I really did. There were also scenes with bad cuts (a door shutting completely in one shot and then closing again in the next shot) and awkward timing (too many scenes where the characters reacted ten seconds too late).
It was interesting, but for 90 minutes, it also dragged. I went in to the screening knowing it was a European film, so I was expecting the awkward character stares and the slow pace. This film, however, took me out of Kid’s world way too often. But, at the end of the day, to each his own. If this is your kind of thing, this is one hell of a film to analyze.