SThis delightful, quiet movie showcases the Children’s Film Festival’s penchant for delivering international kids' cinema that would never get made in Hollywood. Lola is a German girl who lives on a houseboat. She’s an outcast at her school, her dad abandoned the family (though he still sings Lola to sleep every night from the picture frame by her bed in a series of gorgeous fantasy sequences), and her mom is dating a weird be-mulleted man who drives a muscle car.
As she retreats into herself, Lola finds it more and more difficult to relate to the real world. Dark as Lola and the Pea sounds, it’s also full of levity and quirk—the villain of the film is a Zach Galifianakis look-alike who dresses like a posh sailor and pouts elaborately when confronted with public nudity. (And prudish Americans should be warned that there is brief, nonsexual nudity in the film, as well as a boy who brags about seeing Lola’s mother’s “tits.”)
At the same time, it patiently addresses illegal immigration, in the form of a Kurdish boy who becomes Lola’s only ally. It’s a gentle, nuanced movie with strong female characters about tolerance and doing the right thing.