Bosse has a life of drudgery. Following the death of his mother
he is looked after by less than sympathetic relatives. His
life takes a dramatic turn when Bosse comes into possession
of a magical apple and is pursued by a disembodied head. The
head is a portal to the land of Faraway where Bosse discovers
that his real name is Mio and he is the kings' son. The only
thing standing in the way of an idyllic ending to this story
is the evil knight Kato who is stealing children and turning
them into birds. Mio goes in search of Kato to free the children
and bring peace to the land of Faraway...
in the land of Faraway (1987) was directed by Vladimir
Grammatikkov from the extremely popular novel by Astrid Lindgren.
The film went on to win a Cinekid Film Award.
so even from the above synopsis you can tell that this little
number hasn't strayed very far from the most basic monomyth
of downtrodden child who discovers that he is something more
than he believes himself to be, but then a great idea is still
a great idea.
impressive cast do what they can with a script that requires
little in the way of stretching acting muscles. Christopher
Lee, who plays the evil Kato, must be able to do this sort
of work in his sleep, though that doesn't make him any less
entertaining to watch. Christian Bale plays Jum-Jum Mio's
friend, once again a good performance, but what else would
you expect from actors of this calibre. Susannah York and
Timothy Bottom have a little less to do; especially Bottom's
whose whole performance consists pretty much of hugging Mio.
would presume that the film has not been restored as the print
is not exactly great; colours are diffused giving an overall
soft feel. This, however may not be an error, as I watched
the film the feeling was very much like that of watching the
live action Belle et Sebastian whose soft focus feel
will be familiar to anyone who had to suffer badly dubbed
European children's programs. That may explain the soft focus
feel, however it does not explain the large amount of artefacts
and general print damage that is evident. The audio doesn't
fare any better, with stereo being your only option, which
has a very front loaded, in your face soundscape. Understandable
but not exactly a joy to listen to over a long period. The
disc contains no extras.
In the end this is a kid's film, very much on par with the
sort of thing that The Children's Film Foundation used to
make. If taken on this level it's a nice piece of work, not
a great film for adults, unless they are in tune with their
inner child, but will make an engaging rainy Saturday afternoon
nanny to keep the little ones silent.