In this explosive celebration of children's creativity, PRIMARY! Follows the lives of students and their teachers in a peculiar yet somewhat recognizable primary school. When Jose Maria, more apt at lecturing Fine Arts at University than controlling a primary classroom, fills in his new post as art teacher, chaos seems on the verge of unleashing itself. However, the path that his young and infinitely imaginative little students take him through shows him there more than little he can learn form them, and a new life to discover...Written by
Ivan Noel taught Art classes to 7 year-old's for one year in order to write the script. He then re-staged the exact scenes, acted by the same students in the same classroom. As the director says himself "nothing in this film was invented, not even the most unlikely." See more »
The teaching of art in elementary schools
Primaria means elementary school. The establishment in question in is the San Francisco de Paula School in Seville, where director Ivan Noel taught art for a year. The filming took place in ten days during summer vacation and features Noel's own students, other students and their parents. The rest of the characters, in particular the schoolteachers are actors, with Francisco Alfonsín playing Noel's screen alter ego. Altogether, the children are the protagonists of this movie. Teachers are shown only at work or engaged in conversation in the faculty lounge. There are also tantalizing glimpses of their private lives, and of what makes them tick as educators.
The result has been an outstanding semidocumentary movie. Children act (or are themselves) in an absolutely natural and unselfconscious way. They are able to ignore the presence of the camera since they are being filmed by somebody familiar, their teacher. The movie deals with the vast reservoir of artistry, creativity and imagination present in every child, a reservoir that will remain untapped in absence of good art classes and/or parent attention and support. It also shows the therapeutic effects of art.
The Spanish spoken in this movie is the colorful and musical Andalusian version. Acting is very good all around. Digital cinematography by Ildefonso Corrochano is outstanding. Music (by the director and from other sources) is sparingly used and supports the action. Script by Alfonsín and Noel is fluid, with nothing superfluous or missing. The movie was filmed with on an amazingly low budget and apparently nobody was actually paid for his/her work.
There is much discussion nowadays about the teaching of art in US schools. Nobody questions mathematics of the sciences, but school districts sometimes are short of funds and, invariably, the art classes are the first to be cut. This movie is a powerful argument against these policies and should be mandatory viewing for teachers and administrators everywhere. Don't miss this film; the director has posted it in You Tube with English subtitles.
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