American Anna Vorontosov teaches in a rural school on New Zealand's North Island. Her class of younger students is comprised largely of Maoris. She feels that western methods are not the ... See full summary »
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American Anna Vorontosov teaches in a rural school on New Zealand's North Island. Her class of younger students is comprised largely of Maoris. She feels that western methods are not the most appropriate in teaching her students, for who concepts such as "see Jane run" have no cultural context. She wants her students to "feel", from love to pain to joy, and as such her classes are outwardly disorganized and chaotic. Her livelihood is potentially threatened with the arrival of a new senior inspector of primary schools, a Brit name William Abercrombie. To make her classes seem more organized to Abercrombie, Anna enlists the help of one of the older students, fifteen year old Maori, Whareparita. Anna's students, including Whareparita, see her as their guardian angel. Anna's burgeoning friendship with Whareparita may show her that although she has her students' best interests at heart, she may also not fully understand the culture within which she now lives. Teaching is her life, which ... Written by
Shirley MacLaine wrote that she and Laurence Harvey did not like each other. She found him pompous and insensitive. Once right before the director shouted "action", Harvey leaned toward her, scrutinized her left cheek and asked "What on earth is that?" and acted as though she had a hickey the size of Mount Fuji. Just when she was about to ask for a mirror, Harvey said "Never mind, they'll never notice, it's not your face you should be concerned about". MacLaine did a slow burn and went on with the scene. The next day they were to film a love scene. Before it, MacLaine ate a clove of raw garlic. "That settled his hash", she wrote. See more »
This is actually quite a complex movie. Not the fragile plot of a school teacher desperate for love, the complexity comes in the characters themselves. Shirley MacLaine as the stressed teacher desperately tries to juggle with looking after her children, mentoring the teenage assistant and fighting her conscience which is constantly being sexually challenged. Laurence Harvey comes across as barking mad, but there's one short scene in the movie which explains the torture he's going through, a scene vital to be seen for the whole film to make sense. Jack Hawkins, trapped in an unhappy marriage is probably mis-cast although he is a good contrast to Harvey. Not a typical depiction of New Zealand but an unusual movie, great for discussion & debate.
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