Films of the 14plus competition, which are recommended for children aged 14 and up, deal with definitions of obligation, especially as regards family structures...
Two strong characters come to mind in that context. First there’s Cobain from the mother-son story of the same name, who is torn between the prospect of a new life in a foster family - in a real home, maybe even one that provides a sense of safety and affection - and concern for his drug-addicted mother, who everyone else except him has already given up on. In a drastic yet at the same time sympathetic manner, the film shows how much energy Cobain spends on his attempts to tear his mom away from the drug scene. In Cobain, Nanouk Leopold tells us the story of a modern-day hero who is forced to grow up very early.
And then I think of the protagonist from Adam (directed by Maria Solrun). Adam is deaf - there is little common ground between the young man’s world and that of his mother, a Techno producer. He can only feel a connection with her through the heavy bass frequencies of her music. Adam longs for a normal life, alas one which is not in the cards for him. His gravely ill mother longs to break out of the hospital so that she can take her own life - and she demands that Adam help her. The expectation of accountability that one generation places on another is turned completely upside-down in both films. In addition, like other films in the 14plus competition, both films pose the question of what a young person desires, in vastly different configurations.
In Hans Weingartner’s 303, this year’s opening film for the 14plus competition, protagonists Jule and Jan also asks themselves questions of being and longing. They conduct a discourse on love and reveal widely varying facets connected to the concept.