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The Children's Story (1982)

| Drama, Short | TV Short
A just-established totalitarian government places a new teacher in a classroom of young children while the old teacher is sent away. The new teacher challenges the students' view of their ... See full summary »





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Credited cast:
Max Barabas ...
Michael Belleran ...
Vanessa Biery ...
Michaela Clavell ...
The New Teacher (as Michaela Ross)
Student (as Danielle Duclos)
The Old Teacher
Toni Ann Gisondi ...
James McCall ...
Leslie Weiner ...


A just-established totalitarian government places a new teacher in a classroom of young children while the old teacher is sent away. The new teacher challenges the students' view of their world. Young Johnny asks questions, but the teacher manages to twist the truth into reasonable answers. It doesn't take long for the children to see things the new teacher's way. Written by Anonymous

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Plot Keywords:

teacher | totalitarian | girl | boy | flag | See All (12) »


Drama | Short





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User Reviews

A terrifying alternative: James Clavell's The Children's Story
27 September 2010 | by (montreal, canada) – See all my reviews

Think about a great teacher you have had; a teacher who really listened to you and opened your mind to new ideas. Sounds great, doesn't it. Now imagine such a teacher who uses their power for evil rather than good and you have the teacher in James Clavell's The Children's Story. This short film, based on Clavell's story of the same name, is set in a typical American classroom, but certainly not in typical times. The unthinkable has happened, we have lost a war and the new Leader has just replaced all teachers. In a mere 25 minutes, all that we have believed in and have taken for granted all our lives are shattered.

The message of this film is terrifying. The illuminating portrayal of the power that a teacher may hold over impressionable young minds is very thought-provoking. Within a few minutes of her arrival in the classroom, the new teacher (who tells the children to just call her "Teacher" for now, when asked her name), completely alters their ideology by sweetly convincing them that the Pledge of Allegiance is wrong in that it makes a flag more important than a person. She goes even further in her desecration of this symbol of nationhood by suggesting that since it is such a 'pretty' flag they should each have a piece of it. The children gleefully proceed to cut themselves each a piece of the flag.

The attack on their beliefs continues when she challenges the act of praying, all in the pretense of learning about their daily routine. With candy as a bribe, the teacher convinces the children that praying to God, a practice they had been following all their lives was useless. Even Johnny, the doubting Thomas of the class, is won over when the teacher rewards him for his sharp thinking in questioning her actions by making him class monitor for the week. The brainwashing continues with a speech about good thoughts and bad thoughts and the necessary re-education of the children's parents to eliminate any bad thoughts. What a clever Leader to use schools to manipulate children as a way to undermine an entire society!

The Children's Story is definitely a must-see for anyone interested in social theory and power relations,not to mention brainwashing.

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