The everyday reality of grade school is seen from a child’s-eye-view as an obstacle course of degradation and abuse. Following 7-year-old Nora and her big brother Abel, we see Nora struggling to fit in before finding her place on the schoolyard. One day, she notices Abel being bullied by other kids, and though she rushes to protect him by warning their father, Abel forces her to remain silent, while he endures more humiliation and harassment by his peers. With gritty realism, the filmmaker crafts an empathetic and visceral portrait of the cruelty of children, and the failure of adults to protect them. 2021, Belgium, 72 minutes, in French with English Subtitles
Playground will be available to view on Friday, April 15. If you order tickets now you will have 72 hours to view the film starting on April 15. All tickets are $6.99. This streaming is available from the Eventive platform. If you have streamed our films before, you may have an Eventive account. To purchase a ticket you will be asked for your email address and password. If you do not remember your Eventive password, use the “forgot my password” or “create new password” function.
Discussion information will be announced soon!
Critic’s Pick! “In a perfect hour and 12 minutes, PLAYGROUND tells the sweeping, intimate story of a child’s coming into consciousness…(A) fierce, intelligent movie… It’s a knockout, as flawlessly constructed as it is harrowing… Wandel is telling the story of one child, a tiny planet spinning in a mysterious, often confusing, unsettled universe… a story that in its piercing, sensitive detail and life shaping arc is as familiar as yours and mine.”
– Manohla Dargis, New York Times Read the review.
“One of the very best recent films about childhood. A gut-punch of a film. A lucid depiction of pre-adolescent power politics, it is superbly made by debut director Laura Wandel. A sensory immersion straight into the heart of children abusing other children physically and emotionally. A sit-up-and-take-notice blend of outstandingly natural performances enhanced by spot-on cinematic choices.” – Lisa Nesselson, Screen Daily
“ Electrifying. Essential. Shot, cut, and performed with an immediacy… Bold aesthetic choices pay off across a whole spectrum of emotions. If one hews close enough to the characters’ perspectives, every story effectively becomes a thriller. As Nora, Vanderbeque is quite stunning… It’s a testament to this impossibly young actress’s talent that she can convey all these emotional shifts without it ever seeming convenient, phony, or cheap.” – Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine
“School as a microcosm for the world at large. The pair (of actors) are remarkable as siblings whose bond is almost destroyed by the pressures of the playground. PLAYGROUND shares the uncompromising and unflinching approach of filmmakers (the director) cites as influences, including the Dardenne brothers, Bruno Dumont and Michael Haneke.”
– Demetrios Matheou, Screen International
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Nyack, NY 10960
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Rivertown Film is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts and from Restart the Arts, a regrant program of Arts Westchester, with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.
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