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Kids Might Fly is among the most natural feeling films I’ve ever experienced. The film is only six minutes long and has to tell a lot in that time, so it is a great achievement to see how well the film works as a whole in the end. Kids Might Fly doesn’t really have a plot, at least by the definition of the typical three act structure of the like of Hollywood and the typical independent film that seem to rely on it. All it is, is a telling of the lives of children in London.
What we have are characters, and their exploits within this period of time dedicated to them. And I really hesitate to use the word “characters” for them, because they felt more like actual people who I could meet on the streets, even in Yorkshire. Every single one of them was so convincing, so well written, so perfectly acted and all so charming that I was engaged after the first use of dialogue. These are people that I want to know more about, and that is helped by how they are used. Nobody outstays their welcome, and nobody is felt underused at all. It might sound like a strange comment to make, given the runtime, but in a film like this, that is of upmost importance.
Of course, placing and usage of characters does come down to the direction. Writer/director Alex Taylor clearly has a passion for this film and every moment of it pays off. Not only has he given us characters more than engaging enough to carry the film, and a big number in a short time at that, but he also makes the film look nice. East London is a fairly well known area (for better or worse), and there’s not a person in Britain who couldn’t tell you what it typically looks like. But Taylor makes the setting feel like a nice place for this community to live in. In fact, community is a major part of what makes this film work. Everything feels close and comfortable, like a home. It is the perfect set-up to tell these characters exploits. There’s feel like multiple, interesting stories all compiled into this one film. The one that stuck out to me was the girl with a great sense of imagination and creativity, telling stories about the Pig of Happiness. It felt childish, yet innocent and heart-warming. It made me want to learn more about her and about this story.
But what I can really praise Taylor for is that I never saw his hand behind the camera. There was nothing about this project of passion that felt pretentious. The lighting, the cinematography, the audio, it all felt, well natural. It was almost like a documentary, like someone had decided to film these people within this community and show it to the world. Almost like a home video of friends and family, only more expertly crafted. With the cinematography in particular I felt that everything was planned and set up with painstaking detail, but I never thought that. I only thought that they had chosen to film a girl playing a flute to her dog, or another feeding the pigs, or a group of boys talking about how they aren’t stupid enough to self-harm themselves. The character I mentioned before, the imaginative girl, is one who we never really see talk, we only hear her narration. This gives us the illusion of hearing her thoughts, which in turn gives the film a dreamlike twist to it. Especially when she is talking about the Pig of Happiness.
The word that I would use to describe this film would definitely be pleasant. It has all the charm, pleasantry and good-will as Paterson does. It makes a great case for the art of short films, proving that there are no limitations provided that you aim to work and actually make it. Kids Might Fly is strong, yet humble, and is definitely more than worth checking out. Watch it and find the story for you.