January 2013, arsenal cinema

Classics Not Just for Children

CHANG – A DREAM OF THE WILDERNESS, 1927

Spectacular landscapes – one in black-and-while and real, one brilliantly colored and artificial — are at the center of the two children's classics CHANG (USA 1927, 6. & 13.01) and THE WIZARD OF OZ (USA 1939). The word spectacular also applies to the takes of animals that King Kong directors Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack shot for their documentary film CHANG – A DRAMA OF THE WILDERNESS in the jungles of northern Siam (Thailand). For Kru and his family, who live on the edge of the rainforest, leopards, water buffalo, and elephants are not a rare sight. Repeatedly they have to defend their huts and rice fields against the wild inhabitants of the jungle. In contrast, a tame lion accompanies Dorothy through the gaudy sound-stage landscapes of the magical country in THE WIZARD OF OZ (Victor Fleming, USA 1939, 20. & 27.01). A Hollywood fairytale with surreal touches, somewhere over the rainbow.