I Wish and Moonrise Kingdom

In cinema, children generally represent wisdom. Their innocence suggests a mind and spirit that has not yet been polluted by anger, disappointment, jealousy, greed, bitterness or any of the other flaws and foibles that accumulate as we turn the corner from adolescence to adulthood. This kids-know-best theme also flourishes in literature, going back at least as far as when Dickens examined the cruelty of 19th-century England through the eyes of David Copperfield and Oliver Twist.

The genre’s latest cinematic entries are a pair of very different films from different corners of the globe. The more thoughtful of the two, and the one receiving less exposure, is the Japanese film I Wish, written and directed by the great Hirokazu Koreeda, who has earned a reputation as a master at working with children since Nobody Knows (2004).