TIFF Kids

The Day My Father Became a Bush

Nicole van Kilsdonk

Adapted from the novel by award-winning author Joke van Leeuwen, The Day My Father Became a Bush tells a story of war as seen through the eyes of a 10-year-old girl.

Adapted from the novel by award-winning author Joke van Leeuwen, The Day My Father Became a Bush tells a story of war as seen through the eyes of a 10-year-old girl.

In a charming town in an unspecified country, young Toda (Celeste Holsheimer) has a relatively carefree life. Above all, she enjoys helping her pastry-chef father (Teun Kuilboer) make sweets in his bakery. When conflict breaks out between the "Ones" and the "Others," her father is conscripted to go off to fight, which leaves Toda in the care of her grandmother (Anneke Blok). The town becomes an active war zone, and Toda's grandmother arranges for her to travel secretly across the border to a neighbouring country where her mother (Noortje Herlaar) lives. But the plan is ruined by corrupt officials, and Toda must flee, penniless, to find her mother on her own. She comes to rely on her own resourcefulness and intuition in order to navigate the perils that obstruct her every move.

Director Nicole van Kilsdonk portrays a number of complex and adult issues — war, the politics of refugee status, and the on-the-ground realities of national borders and language barriers — but imbues this portrayal with a childlike sensibility. Harsh as these topics may be, the memorable story of resilience comes to life in a very touching manner, thanks to a sensitive and vulnerable performance by young Holsheimer. And by omitting any reference to specific nationalities, The Day My Father Became a Bush makes a powerful, universal statement about what is happening the world over as displacement, fear, and forced migration challenge an increasingly globalized humanity.

ELIZABETH MUSKALA

This film is recommended for ages 10 and up.

N.B. soldiers with guns, bombing, toy gun, smoking, near drowning

location_on Scotiabank 5

verified_user Industry

location_on Scotiabank 9

theaters Regular

location_on Scotiabank 7

verified_user Industry

location_on Scotiabank 8

theaters Regular