In interviews with the Colubmia Spectator and the Huffington Post last week, New York based filmmaker and indie legend Sara Driver revealed that she and Cuarón, among others, will each contribute a story to an animated folk tale anthology currently in pre/production. Each of the Tales from the Hanging Head will be tied together by Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis), “with her incredibly animation.” Emir Kusturica and Michel Gondry are also attached. Here’s the catch:
The directors have to do every effect in camera or by light and shadow or in very tangible ways so that it brings magic to children. I also made all the fairy tales—I adapted them and brought them up to the present, so it’s also about bringing magic into the present day, for children and adults.
The idea for the film came about in a conversation between Driver and Strapi on their way back from the Küstendorf Festival (organized by Kusturica) in Serbia. Asleep in the back of the car with her head bobbing, she came up with a screenplay-to-be for a short film based on a Serbian folk story, and the inspiration for a collection of metamorphosis tales from around the world. Satrapi told her, “Sara, you have to call it Tales From the Hanging Head, because your head was bobbing in such a strange way!”
I’m always excited for a new Alfonso Cuarón project, but I think it’s even more exciting to hear that he is working on a “children’s movie.” I only learned about him years after watching A Little Princess (when it was still in cinemas), but it is that film that makes him so much more special to me than he might be based on his vérité road movies alone. I was really disappointed when I figured out that production on A Boy and His Shoe wasn’t moving forward. I think it could’ve been equally something special, but informed by all that road movie magic (Children of Men, yes, but moreso the “coming of age” Y tu mamá también) and his experience working on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with actors of a similar age and that British landscape. I wonder whether he and Patrick Doyle would ever reunite for such a film (there is something about Scottish composers).
I think there’s been a real lack of good intelligent magical films for children. In the ‘30s they used to make films with adults and children in mind because they knew adults would be taking their children to the theater.
I don’t think it’s just that filmmakers should make children’s films knowing that adults will be in the audience. I was eight or nine y.o. when A Little Princess came out, and I had the opportunity to watch a number of amazing and un-simplistic “children’s movies” as a child. It’s the hope of creating the cinematic storytelling magic that, I think, is kind of universal when it happens.
Let’s hope we can see it in cinemas (even though it’s tough with anthologies and/or short films, outside of festivals). It could be pretty fantastic.