Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Kekec

Kekec; adventure, Slovenia, 1951; D: Jože Gale, S: Matija Barl, Franc Presetnik, Frane Milčinski, Zdenka Logar

Somewhere in the Slovenian Alps, the 10-year old Kekec lives with his family in a small village, where rumors of a cruel man, Bedanec, spread. Desolate in his home in the forest, Bedanec keeps a 10-year orphan old girl, Mojca, captive, so that she can clean his home. When she begs to escape, the nearby old man, Kosobrin, gives her refuge in his home on a plateau that can only be reached through a secret cave passage. Bedanec captures Kekec and forces him to work in his home, and plots to re-capture Mojca from Kosobrin. When Bedanec finds the secret cave entrance, Kekec releases a dog. In the rush, Bedanec is found hanging from a cliff and agrees to leave the place if Kekec helps him climb back. Bedanec leave and Kekec returns to his village.

One of the most popular and beloved children's movies of Slovenian and Yugoslav cinema, this is a rather well made, though still by today's standards a little dated achievements. Set among the wonderful, idyllic locations of the Slovenian Alps, leaning towards the German Heimatfilm repertoire, directed in a straight-forward manner by Joze Gale, this is a film that still causes a few questions at its inconsistencies and ill-conceived plot points by modern viewers – for instance, having the "villain" Bedanec keep an abducted 10-year old girl, Mojca, captive in his home against her will, seems little suitable for a kids' movie, and also begs several bitter questions (why don't the people in the nearby village simply call the police? Is Bedanec a paedophile or does he simply seek some company for his solitude because he does not have kids of his own?). These questions and 'rough' edges clash badly with each other, yet if the viewers simply ignore them and enjoy "Kekec" as an old-fashioned film in which the title boy saves the day, it still has some charm, flair and grace, with a few humorous moments that manage to ignite the mood (a boy dresses up as a ghost to scare of Kekec's sister, Tinka; a peasant wishes all the best to Kekec's father, and even jokingly wishes that his "chicken may hatch him a cow").

Grade;++

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