Oct. 12 (Sun.) For Family Viewing Publications / index / Japanese Documentary

One Month with Ms. Toriyama and Children

(19k) Production Company: Group Gendai Inc
Producer: Koizumi Shukichi
Director: Shinomiya Tetsuo
Photography: Iwata Makiko
Sound: Honma Kimio
Camera Assistants: Iino Atsushi, Ohara Nobuyuki, Tamura Keizo Sound Assistants: Kosuge Yoshiteru,Iritani Masaru, Takeda Masato
Assistant Editor:
Oka Yoshinori Photo Source: Oki Shigeru
1985 / Color / 16mm / 140 min

Koizumi Shukichi and Shinomiya Tetsuo, from Group Gendai which documented Hayashi Takeji's Class ("Jugyo") in a series of films, now turn their cameras on a class taught by Ms. Toriyama Toshiko. Ms. Toriyama Toshiko teaches her class, "Body, life and food," to fourthgraders in homeroom number three at Momozono Daini Public Elementary School in Nakano Ward. Every day, her class comes to the core of a new issue, questioning, for instance, why Japanese radish grow warped, or how much urine a human being produces in a day. One morning, all of the children become "pigs." Ms. Toriyama's class is distinctive for encouraging students to learn by "becoming." As "pigs," the children try to live a pig's life, from birth to copulation, crawling along the floor on all fours. In the afternoon, Ms. Toriyama brings a dissected pig into the classroom. Some children shout with joy, some cry with pity. When the teacher starts to explain the body's innards by comparing it with that of a human being, however, the children are drawn in: the intestines and bladder tie in with the previous class discussion of urine, and we understand that it takes several classes to build up to this daring class featuring a dissected pig. Ms. Toriyama then brings in a story about the female praying mantis (who, after breeding, eats the male), and the children try becoming praying mantises. The children pay no attention to the camera among them. It is clear that the film's focus is not on the class but on the children's responses.


Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Organizing Committee