0504: High School (1968)

High School

Rating:  5/10

High School is a documentary of a high school, as you might have gathered by the name. I like documentaries, for the most part, but whatever it is, it has to have a point first and foremost. There are so many documentaries out there that are basically like this one, they don’t really have a point, they’re not trying to make a point, they think all they have to do to make a documentary is point your camera and shoot at stuff. It can be anything you  can put on camera and doesn’t inform your audience of anything. Movies are supposed to have a point god dammit!

This movie shows us what a day in high school is like during the sixties. I guess there’s something to that from the perspective of a person living in the 60s. But now, with everyone scared of everything and people bringing guns to school anyway and shooting people, I think there’s something to this that’s more than a little archaic. It’s not showing me things that are relevant anymore, and, as far as documentaries go, this one doesn’t do things that aren’t done better elsewhere.

There are things that are interesting though. Though it is archaic it is neat to see a woman talking to a home ec group about how to walk in a way that is both with pride and with beauty. Once again, not something that you would see in school nowadays but showed something that people thought was important in a different time. There’s many sections like this, a moment when a woman is giving a speech to the girls of the school talking out against the brand new birth control pill, a teacher giving addressing the class about how housewives are the true masters of the house. Ah, back when only one parent needed a job to live in this country. It’s really a blast from the past, I kind half expected Marty and Doc Brown to be walking around somewhere in the background as they try, once again, to get back to the future. Oh god, this movie is reminding me of better movies, that’s never a good sign…

High School shows how oppressive some teachers can be. It’s what happens when you assign random people with minimum wage to police your kids every day. It’s why teachers should be the most paid position in this country rather than the least paid but I guess people prefer giving all there money to the people who are already super rich than the most important job in the world. Anyway, showing oppression in high school has always been present, if this movie did anything to open people’s eyes to this fact then more power to it. If anyone living in this country today doesn’t know this, it’s probably because you were lucky enough to go to private school.

Ultimately, this movie is more interesting as a history lesson of “this is how things used to be” than whatever it was originally intended for.

Why you should watch this before you die: I guess because you were one of those private school kids I just mentioned and you literally don’t know what going to a public high school is like and you’d rather look at it from a 60s perspective. Also, if you were writing a book or screenplay set in a high school in the 60s, watching this wouldn’t be a bad way to research it.

2 thoughts on “0504: High School (1968)

  1. Wiseman like the Maysle brothers were creating a new type of documentary in the 60s. Note that there is no narration, just the events as they unfold. As for no point, did you not see the various student being subjected to the school’s authoritarian system? Maybe by today’s standards it seems like something we should return to but this was exposing subtly the kids not liking being forced to think and act the same way even if they don’t know how to express themselves. Then we have the world’s most boring English teacher ruining great literature and the final reading of the letter from the student who went to Vietnam where the teacher is proud of a kid who’s stuck in a horrible situation, thanks in part to them. This was a way to break from the structured documentaries that spell it all out for the audience, the ones often accused of bias. Once again, I’d give it an 8.

    Liked by 1 person

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