SHORT TAKES

New Zealand Listener - - BOOKS & CULTURE - Peter Calder

SCHOOL LIFE di­rected by Neasa Ní Chi­anáin and David Rane

In the vein, but not the league, of Ni­co­las Philib­ert’s sub­lime To Be and To Have from 2002, this fly-on-the­wall doc­u­men­tary fol­lows a year in the life of Head­fort, an ex­clu­sive Ir­ish board­ing pri­mary school housed in an old Ge­or­gian man­sion. Its os­ten­si­ble sub­jects are John and Amanda Ley­don, a teach­ing cou­ple con­tem­plat­ing the end of their 46-year ca­reers, but the film never gets to grips with the po­ten­tial of that, set­tling in­stead for a se­ries of ­snap­shot mo­ments, many of them made ­de­light­ful be­cause of John’s ­com­bustible dry­ness. Charm­ing as far as it goes.

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School Life

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