Switzerland

A perfectly crafted, poignant charmer.

Zucchini looks to the sky.

My Life as a Zucchini is one of the most wonderful films of the year, which has resulted in its much deserved Oscar nomination this year for Best Animated Film. Zucchini is a stop motion animated feature from France and Switzerland about a nine year-old boy, Courgette (which is French for zucchini), who loses his mother and father and is taken to a foster home where a handful of other orphans reside. The brisk 70 minute film follows Courgette as he befriends the kindhearted policeman who takes him to the foster home, and then learns to love and trust the other foster children in similarly unfortunate situations. The animation is colorful and simple, yet each shot is overflowing with heart. My Life as a Zucchini is not meant for very young audiences — the subject matter may be beyond a young child’s understanding and there are some bits of nudity and substance abuse. And yet, I recommend audiences of nearly all ages see My Life as a Zucchini because it beautifully tackles how all people, including children and adults, can rise above their surface-level differences to love each other, even in the face of tragedies that affect their lives in unexpected ways.

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The 20th Anniversary of the Berlin & Beyond Film Festival has an amazing lineup, set to entertain audiences from Jan. 14-17 at the Castro Theatre and Jan. 18-20 at the Goethe-Institut — Tickets available here. Until Thursday, we wanted to provide you with some quick highlights to check out as you’re buying tickets:

  • Opening night film Who Am I: No System is Safe, a hacker-heist film that draws inspiration from Fight Club, The Usual Suspects, and has no doubt inspired a lot of story elements in the Golden Globe award winning show, Mr. Robot. The young award winning star of Who Am I, Tom Schilling, will be in attendance.

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