Films: The Weight of Elephants

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The Weight of Elephants

The Weight of Elephants

Denmark, 2013, 83 Minute Running Time
Additional Countries: New Zealand
Genre/Subjects: Coming of Age, Drama, Family Friendly
Program: Contemporary World Cinema
Language: English

DIRECTOR: Daniel Joseph Borgman
Producer: Katja Adomeit, Leanne Saunders
Editor: Molly Malene Stensgaard
Screenwriter: Daniel Joseph Borgman
Cinematographer: Sophia Olsson
Principal Cast: Angelina Cottrell, Anna Hewlett, Demos Murphy, Bree Peters 

The pressures of the ephemeral adolescent years can be painfully oppressive. What may seem trivial to an adult may wreak emotional havoc in a child. Head lice, absent parents, and cruel intimidation at school afflict 11-year-old Adrian’s psyche.

Adrian is fascinated with constant TV footage of three children who were abducted in a nearby town. The news is a welcome escape from his own isolated life. The only adult he can remotely identify with is his ill Uncle Rory, who is too unstable to be kept around, and the only potential friend he had betrays him to join the group of bullies that torment him daily. His anguish intensifies after he gets the attention he so desperately wants, but at the cost of continuing the brutality toward the only one at school less popular than he, a girl who thinks she is a horse. Some relief is found when a mysterious family moves in next door. Adrian suspects that the children may be the ones missing on TV because Nicole, the girl his age, does not go to school and fits the description. They forge a Bridge to Terebithia-style bond, which in turn alleviates their fears of abandonment.

Told completely from the perspective of the youth, this New Zealand/Denmark co- production exemplifies director Daniel Joseph Borgman’s interest in themes of loss of innocence and isolation. Many of the children were non-actors cast from the surrounding Southland area, resulting in honest performances, and the prominent rabbit and crystal imagery parallels Adrian’s fragility in his quest for acceptance.

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