Heidi, is an eight-year-old Swiss orphan who is given by her aunt to her mountain-dwelling grandfather. She is then stolen back by her aunt from her grandfather to live in the wealthy Sesemann household in Frankfurt, Germany as a companion to Klara, a sheltered, disabled girl in a wheelchair. Heidi is unhappy but makes the best of the situation, always longing for her grandfather.
Not everybody knows Heidi. People are taking about their favourite versions, but for me this is the first film and I loved it. Now I’m not going to watch the other versions, because I think nothing would surpass this one. I’ll stand by my statement till someone convince me over. This is definitely the Swiss version of ‘The Secret Garden’, except the garden is so big and not a secret. Hailing from a Himalayan nation, I do love the Alps more for its beauty than the snowy and rocky Himalayas. Last month I saw another film theme related to the Alps called ‘Brothers of Wind’. So lately I’ve been watching some fine films, pure children’s films where adults too can have a great time.
I think the casting was good, especially the little girl in the title role. She has given her best despite no prior experience in the acting. So whenever I remember this film in the future, her trademark smile as Heidi is the image I’ll be seeing. This is the best family film with an awesome story. It might not make sense compared to the real world, certainly not to be considered as a fairytale. Not just because it has no magics, but it is comparable to Disney films. Very cheerful narration with a steady pace. Blending background score and equally matched greenery locations to the story, overall everything worked in its favour.
The film was based on a century old Swiss children’s book of the same name. The film runs for nearly a two hours. The story of a young girl named Heidi, who lost both her parents and now she is left in her grandfather’s custody who lives high in the Alps. She finally finds a place where she can be happy, but not for a very long. One day her aunt comes back to take her to another house where she will be accompanying a wealthy girl, Klara. After sometimes, the time comes to choose between her new friend Klara and the happy life back in the Alps with her grandfather. How the rest of the story shapes up is the another excellent half with a beautiful conclusion.
> “People like saying nasty things. You have to decide whether to trust your own eyes and ears or what other people say.”
The film opens and ends with showing an eagle and we know that the Alps’ magnificent creature which depicts the Heidi’s life in the human form to go all the struggles to be free one day to soar high under the blue sky. But when she was refused by her aunt and followed by her grandfather, that is the moment anybody with the light heart would end up very sad for the inhumane treatment on a little innocent child. The adult might take it differently, but this film is for children and those who love children as the punchline says from the original book cover.
Felt like I knew the story, but not really, except I was familiar with similar themes. Even though, pretty predictable and I did not care, but just enjoyed it. Despite all the issues, Heidi was not portrayed in the very harsh conditions. There are some evil characters, but not so terrifying as one from ‘Cinderella’ story or any other similar. This screenplay might be altered, but I don’t know the original material to confirm that. This is a film for families, so the contents from it was balanced to fit on that.
I think the director did his part so well and so the actors from the front of the camera. The cinematography was another highlight of the film. The camera angles totally caught my attention and I never stopped to admire the great Alps. The final scene in the film where Heidi runs by stretching her hands mimicking the eagle on the mountain along the goat herd, she stops suddenly and turns back to give a cute smile, you definitely don’t want the film to end. But obviously you can re-watch like I did because it’s well worth. I have not seen many Swiss films, but this is one of the best from that part and surely I won’t end my review without recommending it to all.