In these times of lockdown all over, where kids sit at home meeting their classmates, and their teacher(s), via a computer, this is a film that can show us how important it is that children are together, when they are together in a class at school – and that they have a teacher for whom the profession is a calling. Mr Fotis is his name and he is the teacher that I would have loved to have.
The kids in the multicultural primary school in Athens profit from his passion and ability to make the 6-12 year old girls and boys interested, listen, be creative and first of all take part in their own individual development; maybe without knowing it, but some of them will never forget – and all right I also had teachers wayyyy back who taught me how to navigate in this crazy world.
The observational documentary, the first film of Dimitra Kouzi as director and producer, is one of those that makes you smile through the 70 minutes it lasts. Because of the kids and their energy, sometimes no-energy because they have to stay up late to pray, because of the interaction between them and Mr Fotis, who builds up his teaching step by step with the goal that the class performs a play with references to Greek culture and myths. ”Where will you be in 10 years”, Mr Fotis asks the kids and they answer… none of them will be in Greece, as one puts it ”Greece has a Past but no future”! Strong words from children!
There are water fights in the schoolyard, there are small episodes where the background of the kids is revealed, there are many fine poetic moments caught by the very active camera. Wonderful. The director knew what she was looking for. And if you wait and are patient, magical moments will come forward. Actually it is lovely to watch Mr Fotis and his smile and whole warm attitude towards the children. A teacher with will and curiosity, who wants to give the children a fundament in life.
Of course the film has been used as an inspiration for teachers to see what you can achieve with the right attitude and commitment. It has been part of workshops for teachers who have intercultural classes as well as in film education. Happy to read that in material provided by Dimitra Kouzi, and happy to see small clips with some of the children made for the promotion of the screening at Thessaloniki Documentary FF.
Greece, 70 mins., 2020