In search of the mystery of childhood, we found four girls and boys who deeply touched us: Wisdom (11), Joline (12), Elias (14) and Roja (12). Even though they are all very different, they have one thing in common: they do not really fit into the framework of our function driven society and they wish for a place where they can stay as long as they want to and where no one can tell them what to do.
Either they are slower and cannot keep up at school, are emotionally between two cultures or they have no friends. Elias lives on his own planet with his imaginary companions and Wisdom travels to Africa on a raft to meet the spirit of his great-grandfather. An army of shiny blue bugs fights under Joline’s skin everyday, but she manages to shake them off. In her memories, Roya crosses the ocean.
The children “leave” their reality and meet in a secret location that is inaccessible to adults. Doro, 10 years old, goes on a search to find the missing children. It’s also puzzling that their pets have escaped from their cages as well. Doro meets baffled adults: a politician, a guinea pig expert and a factory owner until she finally finds the children’s island. Many other children have also gathered here and together they develop their own games and rules.
The term cabinet of wonder not only describes a collection of objects, but also inner spaces like our brain, our heart or rather: our thoughts and feelings. Because even in those you can walk around virtually, look around curiously and be amazed. And it’s all about amazement, about insights into unknown but also familiar worlds that are recognizable because everyone carries them within themselves. Worlds in which security and refuge can be found. Sometimes, however, you also come face to face with your fears and insecurities.
In the movie the children share their “inner reservations” with us. We brought these to life together with them through imagery, either “realistically” or with animated drawings and dream images. We also explore their everyday lives by observing them and developing settings with them that enable viewers to get an insight into the children’s living environment. What is important to them in their lives, what should others know about them?
The process for this movie was like a ping-pong match with the kids, one in which we caught the balls they threw us and with that we would take the next step of cinematic development and spin the dramaturgical thread in order to link their stories – almost like a scavenger hunt.
For the visual and auditory implementation, we drew from their “childlike” resources: their ideas for imagery, drawings, photos and stories were the starting point of the design process. The children also wrote and interpreted the songs for the movie themselves and collected sounds for the auditory level.