Film: 5231

Education | 1960 | Sound | B/W


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Movement in time and Space. A film about the importance of physical expression in the education of young children, and its positive knock-on effect in other areas of their study. 1960's

We begin the film with young children in gymnasium in P.E. kit, they are exercising and stretching on the floor, some very jolly music plays over the top of the clips. There is an old man of around 60 talking directly to the camera, he describes what the children are doing and his commentary continues over the top of the images of the children in the gym, the children play on mats, and with toy masks and swords, the children react to the music that is playing.

The same man addresses the camera, who explains that he is now at a different school, with slightly older children. These older children are seen rushing into an empty dance room, with polished wooden floor, the children are 9, 10 and 11, the children stop where they are, suddenly, and lay motionless on the floor, arms at sides, the children begin stretching in various different ways at the request of the teacher, the narrator points out that their success in physically expressing themselves through movement in the gym classes has a very positive effect on the children's performances in their other studies, the teacher gives the children instructions as to what shapes they should make, the children respond accordingly. The children then come to a standstill once again and lay still on the floor. The children are active again, dancing to some jazz-style piano music, again they lay silently on the floor. The camera returns to the male narrator, who is seated beside a Christmas tree. Returning to the female gym instructor who tells the children to pick themselves up with their hands, the children do so, and make very elaborate hand gestures as they get up. The children form a circle around the outside of the room, individually children come into the middle of the circle and gesture to their classmates, one girl performs elaborate hand movement, utilising all her fingers, and asks the other children to see if they can do the same with their hands, another child enters the centre of the circle and does a similar hand movement, that same child pretends she has some precious object that she doesn’t want the other children to see, she is very protective over the imaginary object, there is an argument between two of the girls in the centre of the circle, the teacher encourages them to "keep it going", one of the children pretends to be upset and cry, and is comforted by one of the other children, who offers an arm to comfort her. This then cuts back to the male narrator who is still sitting beside the Christmas tree and he address the camera directly. The children pretend to be animals, particularly monkeys, a group of boys form a chain and pretend to be an animal with man legs. There is a shot of the outside of a building, presumably the school where all this has just taken place, as the end credits begin to roll.

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