January traditionally marks the time of new hopes, predictions, and resolutions. Will Paul Vates, the intrepid Chiltern Film Society Chair, beat his record for the number of films seen in one year? Will The Elgiva screen It’s A Wonderful Life in December? Will Peppa Pig be the next James Bond? Only time will tell.
As life resumes after the Christmas festivities, so must educational establishments open their doors once more.
School on film
Going to school is a universally shared experience, however much enjoyed or endured. Friendships forged in one’s formative years can last a lifetime and a subject introduced in the classroom can progress to a lucrative career. To Be and To Have (2002 – aka Être et Avoir), Wonder (2017), Akeelah and the Bee (2006), Waterboys (2001), Eighth Grade (2018) and Ladybird (2017) are all recent examples of school life, shared on the silver screen, although there are thousands more.
Every teacher can have a lasting impact on a pupil’s life, long after graduation. For every kind-hearted Mr Chips, or John Keating and his Dead Poets, there is a Professor Snape or Miss Trunchball looming by The Chokey.
The pandemic has proved difficult for all those working in education. Preparing the next generation with skills for life, while fighting an invisible foe, and facing the perennial threat of OFSTED, make teaching a career which more than deserves the hard won summer holidays. Perhaps the DfE would do well to include compulsory viewings of Nativity (2009) as part of its next recruitment drive.
One, albeit ill-advised, way of coping with teacher burnout comes to The Elgiva on January 12th with the CFS screening of Another Round (2020). The Danish language film tells the story of four teachers who have become disillusioned with their lives. At a 40th birthday celebration, the group agree to embark on an experiment to maintain a blood alcohol content of 0.05 during their working weeks, with an aim to help them become more creative and relaxed. The provisos are that they stop drinking at 8pm each night, do not drink at weekends and they log all their findings.
Directed by Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round was the winner of the Academy Award for Best International Feature, and BAFTA for Best Film Not In English Language, among many other accolades.
Vinterberg based the film script on a play that he had written, and supplemented it with stories that his 19 year old daughter Ida had told him about Danish drinking culture. Ida was due to play the daughter of Martin (played by Mads Mikkelsen), the lead protagonist and History teacher, and the story would be shot in her school with some of her classmates. The film was originally intended to be a “Celebration of alcohol, based on the thesis that world history would have been different without alcohol”. Tragically, four days into filming, Ida was killed in a car accident, leaving Vinterberg bereft and distraught. Filming resumed after Ida’s funeral. Vinterberg wanted to honour his daughter’s memory and rewrote the script to become more poignant and life affirming. In the final version, Martin has two sons, but the film is dedicated to Ida in the closing credits.
Cheers to that!
Another Round is not a tragic tale of the demons of drink like Leaving Las Vegas (1995), or a quotable comedy in the vein of Withnail and I (1987) or Sideways (2004), instead the film leaves the audience to make up their own minds about the life choices of their friends and how they, themselves, may have acted in the same situation.Will Another Round have you propping up the bar of the nearest inn after the screening, and on a school night? We look forward to seeing you at The Elgiva on the 12th to find out! Cheers to the second half of the season!