Film Review: Palle Alone In The World

   What must it be like to fly to the moon? Or to buy any toy you could possibly imagine? Or to be all alone in the world?

   It is questions like these which inspired the film-makers who shaped the course of cinema at the dawn of the medium. Georges Melies dreamt of a voyage to the moon and used the silver screen as his canvas to take us there. George Albert Smith imagined a cinema screen not just full of electric shadows, but of reds, blues and greens and invented Kinemacolor. Palle, the title character from Palle Alone In The World, is a dreamer too but, perhaps, in the most literal sense of the world.

   Astrid Henning-Jensen's 1949 movie takes us into the mind of a child as he wonders what it would like to live in a world with no other humans, no rules, and no laws to stop him taking the biggest lollipops he can find or driving any tram as he pleases. For food, Palle takes a great big pot and fills it with salt and curry powder - danger ensues. As Palle navigates the earth, and takes a plane to look for adults across the sea, Henning-Jensen's film negotiates the audience through his dream-logic tale. Lacking traditional dramatic tension or adult narrative arcs, the film (like Crows) is told to us from a child-like perspective.

   Sadly, as anyone who has had a story told to them by an eight year old child will testify, many young boys lack concision in their tales - here, Palle Alone In The World, despite lasting only a touch over twenty minutes, outstays its welcome too by some distance. With each new action our hero takes, we fail to learn anything new from or about him and, very soon, we realise that such a movie today could be told in under ten minutes with absolute ease. An interesting idea, but one stretched out too long.

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