Film Review: Country School: One Room – One Nation
by Judith Moriarty
You’ll see some familiar faces on film if you attend Fourth Wall Films’ two showings of Country School: One Room - One Nation. It screens at the Villisca Rialto Theatre on Friday, July 1, and I’m here to tell you that it will set off a fireworks of admiration for Tammy and Kelly Rundle, who also produced Villisca: Living with a Mystery and Lost Nation: The Ioway.
I’ve viewed the DVD several times since I received it in late May, and may I say, it’s lyrical, lovely and informative. A beautiful effort, it’s screening in New York, New Jersey and St. Louis. Released in November of 2010, it also screened throughout the Midwest, has been selected for film festivals and other competitions, and recently won the Country School Association of American’s Award for Scholarship and Artistry.
Tammy, in all due modesty, emailed to me the various awards as “not wanting to seem like they were tooting their own horn.” But I say….toot on. You can toot with them either at the Rialto on July 1, or on July 2, when librarian Pat Means unreels a special presentation on one-room schools in the Montgomery County area, followed by a screening.
As an art critic, I’m here to tell you that in addition to the poetic approach the filmmakers followed, there is attention given to things that were wrong about one room schoolhouses, but you’ll have to see the film to get the full story. Suffice it to say, that if you’re given to nostalgia, there’s plenty to wax nostalgic about, but there’s far more. For example: bullies. Ah yes, they weren’t recently invented, despite what you read about our current problems in schools everywhere. Somewhere twixt the glorious landscapes and the rotting roofs of schoolhouses destined for demolition, is the truth spoken from the hearts of former teachers, students, and further (here’s where scholarship comes in) historians and keepers of the one-room flame, determined to preserve and protect.
The Rundles get an A all the way, plus lots of gold stars. Back In The Day, when education defined success, our growing nation was united by community and common sense. There are shreds of it left, blowing in the wind blowing off the plains, ghosts of what was, and perhaps in those winds blows hope for future generations. Education is a long and winding road. Fourth Wall Films will take you there.
Country School: One Room-One Nation, will premiere on Friday evening, July 1st at 6 p.m., at the Villisca Rialto Theatre, 422 S. 3rd Avenue. A secondary showing will be at 2 p.m. on July 2nd. Following the showings the filmmakers and special guests will host a Q & A session.