TIFF13 Review: Little Feet (2013)
Indie film powerhouse Alexandre Rockwell (In the Soup, 13 Moons) returns with the micro-budgeted family affair Little Feet. Shot in grainy, black and white 16mm, the film imagines Rockwell’s own children as near-orphans on a street wandering mission in Los Angeles to find a friend for a fish (or their dead mom in the water).
A child’s whispered, “How did she die?” launches this visual poem about the simultaneous fragility and resilience of children. Lana and Nico (Lana and Nico Rockwell) are two motherless children left to pretty much fend for themselves as their father somehow earns a living dressed as a Panda bear and drinks himself to sleep when he’s not working. Little Feet is rife with a kind of casual surreality and we’re asked to regard it as humdrum, just as children do. As the scenes move from the domestic to the adventurous – the children, along with neighbor NeNe decided to find new friends for goldfish Curly after another goldfish expires – as they set out on the streets of L.A. looking for a river.
And what do children need for such an adventure: a shopping cart, a Swiss Army knife, a few sandwiches, a variety of costumes, and faith in the unseen, of course. “Wanna see something cool?” is the constant refrain on this pilgrimage and thus we skip from one beguiling distraction to another. Often when filmmakers set out to capture the rhthym of childhood it feels forced and overlaid with nostalgia. Little Feet does not and the final credits reveal a clue as to why: written by Lana and Dad. Indeed.
The choice to shoot Little Feet in black and white, 16 mm is paramount – a stroke of damn cinematic genius. While buses pass bearing McDonald’s ads and the neighbors moving boxes are stamped with Home Depot, the effect of the grainy film negates corporate logos and suspends our heroes in a timeless state. Couple the striking visuals of the kids in costumes and chasing one another with a soundtrack of exquisitely chosen golden oldies, and we’re suspended in a dream we once had – a very, very beautiful dream.
With an awkward run time of only 60 minutes, Little Feet is going to be a tough theatrical release, even for your local art house. So, for the love of cinema, get out to the final public showing at TIFF and tell every single person you know to see it if they ever have the chance.
Screening Times for Little Feet
Saturday September 7 Scotiabank 9 7:15 PM
Sunday September 8 Jackman Hall 4:45 PM
Friday September 13 TIFF Bell Lightbox 3 9:00 PM
A Gallery of Images from Little Feet
Watch the Little Feet Trailer
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