Happy New Year to you all! I am delighted to introduce our film club to you. These are the young filmmakers who are taking part in CCADJ this year at Highfield Junior School.
We started the project in November and for the first few sessions we watched a film (100 Children Waiting For A Train!) as well as film clips and took part in some exercises to help us understand the theme of ‘Sensations in Cinema’.
It is not an easy concept to understand, especially if we think beyond the usual five senses of touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste so we made sure to include lots of physical exercises and experiments.
Here are some experiments that we have conducted:
Proprioception: this sense deals with how your brain understands where your body is in space. It gives you the ability to tell where your body parts are, relative to other body parts. Exercise: close your eyes, now put your finger on your nose.
Whispering : whisper softly in the ear of your neighbour. How does it feel? Does it give you a sensation?
Frisson: we used a scalp massage device to slowly massage each other’s head: it gave us a lovely sensation, or ‘frisson’.
Balancing exercise: one person in the middle, one in front and one behind. Middle person falls back into the arms of person behind who pushes them in the arms of person in front. Feel the tipping point and how you feel in relation to the tipping point.
Whole group balancing exercise: stand in a line with enough space in front and behind. Let yourself fall forward but stop yourself by extending your leg. When is the right moment to do this? Your body senses when it is time to stick your leg out.
It was a lot of fun and from our experiments we deducted that sensations are NOT feelings or emotions although they are very closely connected.
Of course we also watched a lot of clips. We started off watching ASMR videos as well as the Susan Boyle audition at Britain’s Got Talent to illustrate that sensations come before emotion or feeling and that something can be experienced as a pure sensation. A lot of the children regularly watch ASMR videos at home as they find them very satisfying and relaxing so this made it much easier to understand the more experimental videos on our screening list.
As we delved into the library of film clips the children loved Post Tenebras Lux by Carlos Reygadas and they begged me to watch it until the end. They all speculated what may have happened to the little girl (they agreed she probably died). Some of their comments: ‘what kind of world are we living in’, ‘where are the parents’? They really noticed the change in mood as the light faded and felt that whereas the dogs initially were perceived to be helpers and friends to the little girl, as the light faded they became threats.
They also had lots to say about Brakhage (Anticipation of the Night) and Arabesque. One child commented that the reason why it was called ‘Anticipation of the Night’ was because the disconnected images where a bit like those images that get recorded on your phone as you are fumbling about to make it work, in a way the random images are what you see before you get to the main event, so in anticipation of what will happen later which I thought was very profound! One child felt that the different pacing, sometimes slow, sometimes very fast was disconcerting and he didn’t like the pink sky either which he thought felt threatening. They all agreed that they liked the refracted light and the water images in Arabesque which they felt was very relaxing and beautiful.
Saskia van Roomen | Film Club Leader at Highfield Junior School