THE CHILDREN OF NOISY VILLAGE is a gentle Swedish film, for and about young kids. Set in rural 1930s Sweden, the screenplay by Astrid Lindgren (author of the popular Pippi Longstocking books), directed by Lasse Hallstrom (MY LIFE AS A DOG), is whimsical and innocent without being cloyingly
Olle (Harald Lonnebro), Lisa (Linda Bergstrom), Anna (Anna Sahlin), Britta (Ellen Demerus), Bosse (Henrik Larsson), Lasse (Crispin Dickson Wendenius) and Kerstin (Tove Edfelt), are children living in a small hamlet comprising North, South, and Middle farms. The school term has just ended, and
summer fun beckons.
As Lisa narrates, the children help with chores on the farms, encounter local grownups, and indulge in good-natured mischief.
They are terrified by the drunk shoemaker, Mr. Kind, but befriend his dog, Svik. The miller, Oskar (Peter Dywik), tells them about a troll that haunts his mill, and they wait for him to appear. Lisa and Anna go to town to buy necessities, make up a song about sausage, and keep forgetting things
and going back to the store, where they are plied with candy.
Bosse cares for Svik while Mr. Kind is laid up. The kids sleep in haylofts (boys and girls are separate) and scare each other. The boys "find" a treasure note and try to trick the girls into searching for the hoard, but the girls trick them instead. The boys find the treasure, a can of goat turds
with an admonitory note from the girls; a reward for their dishonesty. The film ends with everyone returning to school.
NOISY VILLAGE is saved from becoming kitsch by the children, who are real and believable in their interactions. While weeding a field, the kids search for a game to pass the time. Bosse suggests a cussing contest: the girls veto him because the boys would win! NOISY VILLAGE is sunny and idyllic,
but genuine. The beautiful cinematography, by Jens Fischer and Rolf Lindstrom, does ample justice to the Swedish countryside, and captures the nuances of the youngsters' mischievous moods. Adults are bit players in NOISY VILLAGE. The kids' ensemble acting is excellent: a large part of the film's
small magic is their warmth and realism together.
Nothing much happens in NOISY VILLAGE. American kids, accustomed to hyperactive Saturday morning cartoons, may find it boring. Parents with young children, and those who limit their kids TV viewing, will find it relaxing family entertainment. Since it is dubbed, subtitles present no barrier to
young viewers' enjoyment.
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- Released: 1996
- Rating: NR
- Review: THE CHILDREN OF NOISY VILLAGE is a gentle Swedish film, for and about young kids. Set in rural 1930s Sweden, the screenplay by Astrid Lindgren (author of the popular Pippi Longstocking books), directed by Lasse Hallstrom (MY LIFE AS A DOG), is whimsical an… (more)