In a recent essay, critic Isabel Stevens writes: “There is much discussion of childishness—popular cinema is often described as ‘infantilized’—but how often do we consider what children want and need from films, and what they are watching and where (outside the usual narrow, artificial controversies about the dangers film poses to their innocent minds)? How are their critical faculties and understanding of cinema being nurtured, or not…?” 

For this week’s episode, Film Comment managing editor Clinton Krute invited Stevens, managing editor of Sight and Sound, and FC contributor Genevieve Yue—both parents as well as critics—to discuss what they watch with their own kids, and why they choose the films they do. Of course, the kids themselves also jump in, with Isabel’s 6-year-old son Rai offering his (very positive) assessment of Star Wars, and Genevieve’s daughter Harriet discussing her experience working with her mother on a program of experimental films for children at Light Industry in Brooklyn. Unfortunately, Clint’s daughter Agnes was tied up with summer camp, so we’ll all have to wait to hear why the dreamy visuals of Frozen II make it a better film than the original.

Check the show notes below for links to the many articles and films discussed—recommended, of course, for all ages.



Genevieve and Harriet:

Anemic Cinema (Marcel Duchamp, 1926)

Meet Me in St. Louis (Vincente Minnelli, 1944)

Big (Penny Marshall, 1988)

One Way Boogie Woogie/27 Years Later (James Benning, 2005)

How Do You Measure a Year? (Jay Rosenblatt, 2023)

Isabel and Rai:

Hedgehog in the Fog (Yuri Norstein, 1975)

Oink (Mascha Halberstad, 2022)

Titina (Kajsa Næss, 2022)

Robot Dreams (Pablo Berger, 2023)

Clint and Agnes:

Looney Tunes

Fleischer Studios cartoons (Read Mark Langer on the Fleischer brothers from Film Comment’s January/February 1975 issue)

Nikki: Wild Dog of the North (Jack Couffer and Don Haldane, 1961)

The Sound of Music (Robert Wise, 1965)

Dunderklumpen! (Per Åhlin, 1974)

The Magic Flute (Ingmar Bergman, 1975)

Readings and More:

“Adventures in mini moviegoing,” Isabel Stevens (Sight and Sound)

“Experimental Film is For Babies,” Sophia Satchell-Baeza (Art Review)

The Children’s Cinema, programmed by Harriet Parker and Genevieve Yue at Light Industry