Based Cornelia Funke’s books, this opens a window on the experience of childhood in anothercountry beautifully and with great charm. The Wild Chicks is the name a group of five young teenage girls give themselves. They hang out in a cosy caravan in a meadow well away from adult intervention, sharing dreams and secrets – and keeping unusually attractive hens as pets. The boys they know have their own den, a magnificent tree house in the woods that provides the setting for what promises to be a wonderful party – until the local bad boys arrive on their scooters and wreck everything. The German model of childhood depicted is, arguably, a more independent one than many viewers here will have experienced but the film’s characters, who are in the process of rehearsing a production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at school, are encountering adolescent hurdles that are universal. The echoes of Shakespeare’s themes in the characters’ own lives may be a familiar device but Naefe has a sure, light touch and the film an appealing freshness.
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