Into the Heart March 24, 2010
The Worldfilm programme said that Leonard Kamerling from Alaska has made a warmhearted film about a countryside school in Hokkaido. The announcement was correct. The story about Kanayama school was lovely. My first thought after seeing the film was how many of these schools are there on this side of the world. I would like to hope that there are at least some. If anyone has gone to such a school in Estonia on else where, could you please let me know, either here in the comments or by email.
Leonard Kamerling's film also made me think about other things, for example, that we rarely see in films heroes of everyday life, such as teachers and school directors. I am happy that the filmmaker appreciated schools by his choice of subject. The audience definitely liked it, as no one wanted to leave the theater, but instead, as if wanting the story to go on, started asking many questions about what has become of the school director and the children.
My opinion is that the film was successful mostly because it talked about school family – what a beautiful expression – instead of showing what a great guy a school director can be. The film author said after the screening that one of the conditions given by the school director to the filming was that they must also film in the homes of children where the education really takes place. These are golden words. This was one of the many wisdoms of the Japanese director.
In this film people cried a lot, and sincerely from their hearts. That was the fact that astonished me most about that film and about that school. After six years of elementary school, a ceremony of finishing took place where all the finishing students were holding candles. Every one of them said a few words and blew the candle out. Tears were flowing. This scene was followed by another where a teacher said to the children that crying is a good thing to do. I wanted to cry too, but held it back since the hall around me was quite quiet. Even the teachers cried in the film.
I would like to thank Kamerling also for showing how teachers talked about their feelings so openly with their students. In that same finishing ceremony, a teacher said that the loneliest day for him is going to be the day when he goes back to school and these students will not be there anymore. And as if to emphasise this thought even more, the director reminded us of a Japanese proverb: you cannot go on in your life if you do not say good bye to yesterday.