The opening of a school in Germany gives Alexander Kluge the chance to reflect on the history of the figure of teacher and to question the role of the school and its forms of education in Lehrer im Wandel. Both Kluge's film and Mitchell & Kenyon's shots, portraying the strictness of the Edwardian education system, as well as Ernesto, a character in Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet's film who refuses to go to school, attempt to show how this institution has stagnated. At the same time, both in Estampas, a portrait of the Pedagogical Missions in which José Val del Omar took part during the Second Republic, and in the lives of schoolchildren in a rural Swiss environment described by them in their essays in Peter Nestler's short film, there's a certain permeability between school and territory.
In addition to the open-air travelling school of the Missions, which transported projectors, gramophones, books and paintings from village to village, some films also show other alternative models of pedagogy: learning "en rachâchant", as Ernesto says in Straub and Huillet's film, or through the infinite interplay of bedtime stories, as if their images could think, present in Harun Farocki's series for children.
Estampas 1932 (1932-1933), José Val del Omar, 1932, 16 mm to digital, 19 min; Audley Range School, Blackburn, Michael & Kenyon, 1904, 35 mm to digital, 2 min; St Joseph's Scholars & St Matthew's Pupils, Blackburn, 1905, Michael & Kenyon, 35 mm to digital, 2 min; Aufsätze, Peter Nestler, 1963, 35 mm, 10 min; Einschlafgeschichten (Bedtime Stories: Bridges, Cats, Railways, Ships), Harun Farocki, 1977, 16 mm to digital, 13 min; En rachâchant, Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, 1982, 35 mm, 8 min; Lehrer im Wandel (Teachers in Transition / Profesores en transición), Alexander Kluge, 1963, 35 mm, 12 min.
Val del Omar's film courtesy of La Filmoteca - Instituto Valenciano de Cultura. Michael & Kenyon's films courtesy of the British Film Institute. Peter Nestler's film courtesy of Deutsche Kinemathek. Farocki's films courtesy of Antje Ehemann. Straub and Huillet's films courtesy of Belva Film. Kluge's film courtesy of Arsenal.