Boys looking at the sunset in the movie Western Lights.
Students searching through clams to find pearls.
Boys on a trip through the islands.
Exploring students taking a trip through the cactuses to search for wildlife.

A Wonderful Coming of Age Adventure!

I had someone ask me what my favorite 90s movie was on the Instagram I run on the decade. I’m not sure how to pick one title when evaluating movies of different genres with the only similarity being the decade in which they were released. Nevertheless after thinking about it for a while I picked out a foreign film “Western Lights” in a large part due to the sailing our family did as kids.

The movie is about a group of boys from a French experimental school who set out on an expedition across the Atlantic Ocean to Central and South America. While there were adults on the ship the way it is shot you almost completely forget they are there. There are similar shows where the grow-ups play a heavy role and includes extensive narration over what the kids are doing. I like Western Lights a lot more because Instead of it being about the adults’ expertise you see the students’ journey entirely through the wonder of youth. You really feel they are in charge of the voyage (though it is a little hard to tell how much they do completely on their own.) They ask questions to those they meet along the way who live in the lands they visit and go over their findings with each other about what they have just learned on their adventure.

Now that I think of movies more in terms of era they are released it reminds me of another film from the same year that I watched at the time. 1990 also had a remake of “Lord of the Flies” but “Western Lights” is almost of the opposite of that in a ways, a little bit, if that makes any sense. Maybe that is one reason I enjoy it so much. It is not a fictional portrayal of group of boys enduring infighting but real kids working together all the way across the ocean.

It has fantastic scenery and a great score too. Unfortunately the video quality is poor and needs a restoration. The movie shots on this page are enhanced versions that I improved after a few moments cleaning them up. Someone needs to crowd source a restoration of it. The DVD (and VHS) is hard to come across as it is often out of print. Most of it is on YouTube but a few of the chapters are missing. I picked up a rental copy at my local video store Scarecrow Video. If you still have a video store and it has a decent foreign section they may have this title too. Highly recommend pick up! At the moment it is on YouTube as well.

My Mini-Review for the great Scarecrow Video!