The Circle – The World Through Children’s Eyes

The Italian Film Festival is 23 years young and kicking off in your town. And it’s not just films with a dramatic flair but several documentaries will feature this year, including Il Cerchio – The Circle.

Directed by Sophie Chiarello, The Circle chronicles the journey of Italian primary school students over a five-year period, capturing their unique outlook on the world. The Circle is the winner of best documentary at the 2023 David di Donatello and screening at this year’s Italian Film Festival.

Over five years, students share their thoughts and feelings on a range of topics during circle time. From parents’ separation to Santa Claus, Sophie has given these children a safe space where they are listened to without judgement. As an audience, we get to watch these opinions develop as we watch the children grow.

Through The Circle, Sophie has reminded us that children know much more than we often think. She shows that through a supportive environment, we can gain some unique perspectives from children. It was surprising at times to hear a variety of subjects tackled with maturity. As an audience, we are privileged in a way to learn what is going on inside the minds of children.

The discussion of Christmas clearly indicated the end-of-year holidays and each year flows as you watch the children grow into a new school year. As the children grew, the topics became more advanced, which kept interest as it was insightful to hear a child’s thoughts on a particular topic. The visuals of the playground, while these topics were being discussed, were another reminder that these were young children. They may have had this sense of maturity in their thoughts and feelings, but they also enjoyed playing with their friends.

Something that really stood out about this documentary and school was how supportive they all were of each other. Even if they disagreed with one another, they still gave each other a chance to express their feelings. We also watched the children as they dealt with the impact of COVID on the Italian community and how it completely changed the way we did things beforehand.

For a chance to see the world through primary school children, The Circle is a documentary to watch. The Circle can be seen at this year’s Italian Film Festival from 19th Sept to 25th Oct, although check the dates for regional variations. Check out the movie session times in your local area on the Italian Film Festival website. Ciao Bella!

This review also appears on It’s On The House.