Earlier this week I took the film into school so that any children who wanted to look at the film were able to. We made a little dark room using blackout material to be our cinema. It was very intimate, only four at a time could squeeze in, but I really liked this as it meant there could be a bit of chat as the film was showing, but without it getting too distracting. The small dark space combined with light being projected through the small projector was exciting, and there was a lot of experimenting with the beam of light in terms of creating shadows.
Viewing the film at school
I was surprised that no children wanted to leave before the end, some watched it a few times. I thought that it would not hold their interest as there is little narrative and the action is quiet, with most of the film close-up of the objects themselves. The responses I get were all very direct, often in the form of questions: Is that your hands?; Did you draw that white stuff on the ground?; Why are you hotting up all the things?;Did you put the record player on so you could pretend it was the birds that were tweeting? These questions were at the heart of the decisions that I made when making the film. I was surprised as I think I expected the children to be more confounded by a film that was so different to ones they were used to.
They also made connections with different things, for instance talking about bats, because of the dark room, and also about watching scarey films. When the candles started to burn low a few groups started to blow at the screen, Ellis commented on this “they can’t really blow them out they are on the computer.
Some children enjoyed pointing out familiar objects, or listing the objects they liked most. I wondered if part of the enjoyment was because they were familiar objects
When I explained that I lit the candles to to make the objects bright, Ashton asked “to make them alive?” and I felt very pleased that he seemed completely in tune with my intentions.