|SCHOOL LIFE (IN LOCO PARENTIS) (directors & writers: Neasa Ni Chianain/David Rane; screenwriter: Etienne Essery; cinematographer: Neasa Ni Chianain; editor: Mirjam Strugalla.; music: Eryck Abecassis; cast: Amanda Leyden, John Leyden, Dermot Dix; Runtime: 104; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: David Rane; Magnolia Pictures; 2016-Ireland/Spain-in English)|
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Neasa Ni Chianain ("The Stranger"/"Fairytale of Kathmandu") and producer turned director David Rane are co-directors and writers of this absorbing documentary observing an year at an exclusive Irish boarding school in the village of Kells, called Headfort. It's a boarding school for the affluent from ages 7 through 13. For some 50 years the charismatic seventy-year old couple of John and Amanda Leyden, married in 1972, have taught together at the school. Watching such caring and efficient teachers on the job makes for great viewing. The couple follow their motto - Reading! Arithmetic! Rock 'n' Roll! - and perform with proper measures of seriousness or silliness from teaching theater and literature, mentoring a beginning rock band and ably teaching Scripture and Latin. To witness the connection they make with the students with no gimmicky dramatics is outstanding viewing.
The irreplaceable teachers are nearing retirement, and leave us wondering what's next for the fortunate school. What is clearly shown in this fly on the wall documentary is that a personal education and a commitment to encourage the student to evolve, is a key ingredient of the student-teacher relationship. Though a quiet film, it's the real thing and worth seeing.
REVIEWED ON 11/16/2017 GRADE: A=
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ