In Loco Parentis

One of the films I saw during the Full Frame Film Festival was called In Loco Parentis (also known as School Life.) The movie embraces tradition and modernity. The film is focused on an unconventional (and the only) primary-age boarding school in the village of Kells, Ireland. The story follows a year in the lives of an inspirational teaching couple who’s long careers are drawing closer to a close, Amanda and John Leyden. The duo teach latin, english, instrumentals, and work to encourage creativity amongst their students at the at a stately home-turned-school. They are legends with a mantra: “Reading. ‘Rithmetic. Rock ‘n’ roll!” The film does a great job encompassing the students under their charge, focusing centrally on their progressive methods of elementary education, and the impacts they form and leave on the lives of the kids. For John, rock music is a lifestyle, and a subject the same alongside maths, scripture and latin. The movie works to capture his teachings in a collaborative and quite hilarious fashion. Contrary to her husband however, Amanda seeks her literature as the key to connecting with children, and she uses all means to engage the minds of her young ones. For nearly half a century this dynamic duo have shaped thousands of minds, however the film captures another aspect of their story- must they start making preparations for their retirement? What will keep them young if they leave? In Loco Parentis brilliantly expresses the joys of childhood, impacts teachers and adults have on students, and the loving relationships and bonds created by people close to one another. However, at some point in time all good things must come to an end, and without a doubt in this movie leaving is the hardest lesson. The final scene pictures the closing day of the school year. All the parents come to greet their children hello, and all the children go to greet their friends and school life family goodbye. The emotion and pain of moving on is extraordinarily expressed and filmed, in a way that makes the viewers themselves mourn the loss of such a well brought together community. Overall I would highly recommend this film to any and all people, and would most definitely see it again.

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