This charming little French film is the first to be released by a new eat-your-greens scheme to get kids’ movies from around the world into cinemas: an alternative to the usual diet of smart-alec 3D cartoons. It’s got a lovely DIY feel to it, with Olivier Ringer directing his daughter Wynona as six-year-old Cathy, who’s convinced she’s invisible to her parents. When the family leave their holiday cottage for Paris, Cathy slams the car door shut but doesn’t get in. Will her parents notice? No, and Cathy hides in the forest.
There’s something Roald Dahl-ish here, in Cathy’s neglectful parents and Ringer’s skill at inhabiting the imaginary life of children. He shows us the world from Cathy’s viewpoint, and we hear a running commentary of her thoughts. In the forest she befriends all sorts of critters: ladybirds, a scuttling hedgehog, a stray dog; she catches a fish but can’t bear to eat him, so lugs him around in a bucket of water. It’s a delightfully unselfconscious performance, and this is sweet, whimsical storytelling, as you can tell from the credits: ‘We would like to thank all the animals of the forest who have tolerated our presence.’