About Benshi

Our story

Created by the Studio des Ursulines, a Parisian independent cinema specialised in programming arthouse films for young audiences, Benshi is a 100% independent site designed for parents and children aged from 2 to 11. Since January 2016 Benshi has been helping people discover cinema with their families and recommending hundreds of quality films suitable for children. These are selected and commented on by a team of passionate movie lovers who specialise in catering to young audiences.

The success that Benshi has enjoyed in promoting these films has led us to share in other countries, namely the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal. The adventure goes on!

Where does the name Benshi come from ?

In the era of silent cinema in Japan, the benshi was the artist who, during screenings, commented on the films, read the intertitles (for a mostly illiterate population at the time) and guided the viewers’ attention towards particular details in the film.

Who are we ?

Benshi is surrounded by a lovely bunch of enthusiasts who specialise in arthouse cinema for young audiences and are driven by a common aim: to share with you their love of cinema and encourage children to watch beautiful films.

Our editorial policy

Because he has been watching films for a long time and is in love with cinema, Benshi does not select films at random. He picks from among all films aimed at young audiences, and also any films that young audiences are likely to see.

"He uses several criteria when deciding which ones to promote:

  • 1 Quality in terms of cinematography, picture, directing and performances
  • 2 The ability of films to inspire viewers' empathy for characters, a destiny or a story, and also the power to stimulate curiosity and openness to worlds that viewers do not necessarily know
  • 3 The uniqueness of productions that reflect an author's work and vision
  • 4 The longevity of films, their ability to last over time and to become part of cinematographic heritage, beyond fashions and the moment

In addition to these criteria, Benshi likes to promote more confidential films, unknown gems or artisanal productions that do not always get the support they deserve.

But sometimes he loves a film that is a great success. So Benshi has his own approach and his favourites.

The hundreds of films that make up Benshi's entire selection are not an exhaustive list, rather they represent a reliable choice of films that you will enjoy and which will amaze you with their qualities. As well as encouraging long family discussions, Benshi films form a basis for a future film culture, which we hope will be enriching and varied!

Age recommandation

What we at Benshi are about doing most is offering parents some guidance for choosing a movie for their child to watch, whether alone or accompanied. While there is no question that every child has their own sensibility, there are obviously some objective criteria that allow us to make a recommendation.

Length: the ability to concentrate changes with age. A short film, or a programme of short films, will be more suitable for young people.

Complexity: even if a child may enjoy watching a film without fully understanding it, we think it is desirable that he or she grasps its general meaning - and why not also its subtleties!

Topics addressed: some topics are difficult to approach below a certain age. However, we feel that it is good to encourage the discovery of certain more difficult themes without delay. It's all about dosage!

Violence: whether physical, psychological or symbolic, violence is part of the world. Nevertheless, its discovery, through cinema, must be overseen with particular care.

We have also found from experience that a difficult theme (such as mourning or separation) can be treated with an angle and sensitivity in line with that of the children, precisely because the authors see the world at their level. These films can often be a way to address these themes!

The age recommendation is the subject of lengthy discussions between the team members and the selection committee. It may be changed depending on the reaction of the children during the many screenings we attend.

Finally, we are guided by two demands: protection, unlike images accessed online without control; and adventure, the pleasure of discovering films "like grown-ups".

Audience 2+
Audience 2+