Scen.: Susumu Hani. F.: Shizuo Omura. Su.: Zen’ichiro Sakurai. Prod.: Teizo Oguchi per Iwanami. 35mm. Bn.
Markus Nornes declares that Hani’s early documentaries “sent shockwaves through the Japanese film world”. Funded by Japan’s Ministry of Education (Monbusho), this classic documentary was aimed to promote interest in the teaching profession. Initially the film was envisaged as a kind of docudrama, with an actor playing the key role of a problem student. But Hani, worried that the role would prove too challenging for a child actor, decided to film in a real school with real children. “He brought cameras into the classrooms of young students and closely watched their interactions,” writes Normes. “While they were initially concerned that the equipment and adult camera operators would distract the children … they quickly forgot about the filmmakers and went about the business of playing, drawing, and learning.” Hani himself believed that he had given the children “a psychological outlet,” and declared that “everyone agreed that my first documentary … was a new kind of picture, not just in Japanese cinema but also in Occidental cinema.” Hani shot an unusually large amount of footage to capture the natural behaviour of the children, and the film made him famous. Today it fully retains its vitality, spontaneity and charm.
Alex Jacoby e Johan Nordström