Year one at the Teddy McArdle Free School in Little Falls, New Jersey, where all classes are voluntary and rules are determined by vote. Wilder is there from the beginning to end of the school year, documenting and observing founder Alexander Khost, eleven-year-old Jiovanni, seven-year-old Lucy, along with an entire indelible cast of young personalities as they form relationships, explore their surroundings and intensely debate rule violations, until it all comes to a head. APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT is a portrait of unfettered childhood and human relationships.
Eric Hynes for Film Comment wrote:
This debut is a throwback in more ways than one. Its black-and-white photography and institutional setting—we follow a year in the life of an experimental, no-curriculum Free School in Newark, New Jersey—gives it the feel of a rediscovered Wiseman film from the Seventies. And Wilder’s deft, intuitive camerawork recalls that of Maysles or Leacock, magnetizing to the emotional center of scenes on the fly. What feels fresh is the film’s lack of overriding ideology, allowing for schoolroom sequences of both mortifying chaos and hard-fought harmony, and a general attraction to searchers actively trying, like Wilder, to figure things out.
2.50GB | 1h 30mn | 1436×1072 | mkv