Growing Pains

Growing up is difficult, especially if life has surprises in store for you… Pera Film’s new program Growing Pains features films that remind us of the considerable difficulties involved in evolving from childhood into youth and from youth into adulthood, lending an ear to the cries of children and youth of varying ages from around the world.

Growing pains are accompanied by rebellion. While Chiron in Miami does everything he can to refuse the role and the sexual identity dealt to him by society, Toni in another state tries to become part of two different groups at the same time, and Pai living in a tribe in New Zealand resists the patriarchal order all alone. Solitude at early ages may make growing up more difficult, but it may also necessitate it. Paul, who has lost both his parents, is waiting for a confrontation to grow up, while the Swedish girl, left behind by her family when they went on a vacation, or Akira from Tokyo, whose mother ran away leaving her in charge of her siblings, are both forced to grow up in order to stand on their own feet and survive.

Everyone copes differently with growing pains. Ali from Silifke tries to avoid the family secrets that emerge when his father is hospitalized for a whole summer, while Billie from Australia does his best to help her mother who, as he finds out, wants to go through sex change. Love complicates things even further. Living in an obscure Turkish village, Rauf goes on a journey to find the favorite color –a shade of pink- of his master’s daughter (who is older than him), while in France, Damien and Thomas are brought closer by the transformation they share, even though they have opposite characters and belong to different classes.

Running away does not mitigate the pain of growing up; acquiescence turns you into an adult. The 20-something Frances tries to stave off growing up with her colorful personality in a black-and-white movie, and realizes she can become an adult without having to give up her dreams.

Pera Film wants to remind you of your inner child with these touching, warm stories.

Being 17 | André Téchiné, 2016

Damien and Thomas are 17. They have many differences – more than Damien’s mother being a doctor and Thomas’s mother being ill. They are from different social classes and Damien is constantly bullied by Thomas. Their loud and noisy relationship becomes more complicated when the ill mother asks Damien to stay with them and help her son with his school. They both change and their feelings transform. One of the French masters, André Téchiné, flashes a young glance to growing pains and sexual identity crises with his latest film Being 17.

Moonlight | Barry Jenkins, 2016

Little, Chiron, Black; a child, an adolescent, an adult… Being African-American and gay, he knows his path and borders are already drawn in this world – yet he never forgets to be himself. Storms break inside his heart as he discovers his body, his desires and his feelings. Living in a drug-trafficking neighbouring of Miami, his drug-addict mom and his bullying peers does not make life easier for him. Moonlight tells the story of a tough life in three chapters and celebrates the rise of independent and LGBT cinema. This film by Barry Jenkins was awarded with 3 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Rauf | Soner Caner & Barış Kaya, 2016

Rauf is 9. He lives in a small village in Anatolia, under the shadow of an unseen and unknown war. He apprentices in a carpentry; his master makes coffins and more coffins, Rauf learns how to get orders and how to express condolences. His world of black and white colours up when he falls in love with the 20 year-old daughter of his master. Rauf’s journey of searching the colour pink for the girl he loves, becomes a child’s search of love, hope and peace. Soner Caner and Barış Kaya’s first feature film was awarded with the Special Jury Prize in the 35th Istanbul Film Festival.

The Fits | Anna Rose Holmer, 2015

Toni is 11. She is just one of the kids spending a lot of time at the town’s recreation centre. She is powerful, hardworking, ambitious, systematic; and the only girl among the boys of the boxing gym. Besides her passion for boxing, she also wants to be a part of the Lionesses, a dance group rehearsing downstairs. Toni’s change starts when she splits her time between dancing and boxing and starts to feel like being have to choose one. By coincidence, this change occurs simultaneously with the fits experienced by the Lionesses, one by one. Touched by a glimpse of fantasy and empowered with young Royalty Hightower’s performance, the growing pains turn into a psychological explosion in this thrilling film The Fits, recalling Black Swan.

Attila Marcel | Sylvain Chomet, 2013

Paul is 33. He is a man-child living in Paris with his two aunts, he still cannot speak and expresses himself by colourful suits instead. His aunts, who raised him after the death of his parents, just expect him to win piano competitions. When Paul meets the mysterious neighbour Madame Proust and her concoctions, he journeys into his subconscious and childhood years, becoming free from the obstacles that keep him from growing up. After two animated features The Triplets of Belleville and The Illusionist, French director Sylvain Chomet carries on with his creativity and visual wit in his first live action film, Attila Marcel.

52 Tuesdays | Sophie Hyde, 2013

Billie is 16. Her mother Jane reveals that she is a transgender man who wants to go on with his life as James and Billie has to live with his dad during this transition. For one year, she will be seeing her mom only on Tuesdays. On the lapse of 52 weeks, Billie’s own change and growing up also accelerates. Shot chronologically on 52 weeks, on Tuesdays, 52 Tuesdays tells about the simultaneous change of a teenager and an adult.

Frances Ha | Noah Baumbach, 2012

Frances is 27. But she is still an impassioned, romantic, restless child who does not learn without stumbling. In the black and white world created by director and co-writer Noah Baumbach and actress and co-writer Greta Gerwig, Frances lives a multicolour life. She is a childish twenty-something growing up by her mistakes, empowering with her experiences and transforming into an exultant adult. Frances Ha will take away everyone who is forced to meet the real world in some point in their lives, but never gave up with their dreams.

The Girl | Fredrik Edfeldt, 2009

The unnamed girl is 9 and a half. It is 1981 and on the eleventh hour, her family learns that she cannot participate their charity tour in Africa, where they will spend the whole summer. She is left home with her masher aunt on watch but she leaves on the first week – without letting anyone know. The Girl, tells the story of a child who thinks she can stand on her own feet, but who is tested with visible and invisible threats. Being home alone, is no fun like Home Alone this time! Eldfeldt’s directorial debut flourishes with the simplicity of the Northern European cinema and pays attention to the growing pains that appear unannounced under extreme conditions.

Summer Book | Seyfi Teoman, 2008

Ali is 10. He is the youngest member of a family from Silifke, living under the shadow of a stern father. Through the summer, he has to finish the summer book he is assigned from school, earn his own pocket money selling gums and defend himself against the bullies from his class. His father unexpectedly goes into a coma and his uncle, who has always been a stranger to the family, returns to resolve their problems. Summer Book, looking closely to a family drama from the eyes of a boy,is the debut film of Seyfi Teoman. Teoman was among the talented directors of New Turkish Cinema but unfortunately was deceased all-too-soon in his young age.

Nobody Knows | Hirokazu Koreeda, 2004

Akira is 12. He lives in a small apartment in Tokyo with his mother and three siblings from different fathers. They do not go to school, they do not have any friends. One day their mother goes away, leaving just some money and a note behind, she puts Akira in charge. Money melts, power, water and gas are cut, landlord asks for rent. Akira seeks means of survival for himself and his siblings. From the well-known director of Japanese family dramas, Hirokazu Koreeda, Nobody Knows is the story of a boy living in a world by his own rules, without anyone knowing.

Whale Rider | Niki Caro, 2002

Pai is 11. She is the beloved granddaughter of a Whangaran chief in New Zealand. Since her ancestors who rode whales to the coast to survive, their tribal chief has always been one of their male children – until Pai believes that she is destined to be the next one! Being more courageous, strong-minded and powerful than many adults, Pai struggles with traditions, the patriarchy and her grandfather to achieve her dream. Niki Caro’s Whale Rider was a beyond-the-oceans success, bringing its young actress Keisha Castle-Hughes an Oscar nomination.

See Pera Film website for details.