On Thursday, March 26 at Third Man Records, the Light and Sound Machine screens APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT at 8 p.m. A co-presentation of Third Man Records and the Belcourt Theatre, the Light and Sound Machine is a monthly series of avant-garde, experimental and hard-to-find films. This month’s Light and Sound presentation marks the two-year anniversary of this innovative collaboration.
Evoking the immersive styles of Frederick Wiseman and Allan King, APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT is a rare, inspired portrait of unfettered childhood. The documentary charts year one for Jiovanni, Lucy, and Alex at the Teddy McArdle Free School in New Jersey, where all classes are voluntary and rules are determined by vote. There is seven-year-old daredevil Lucy, bright and confident, a staunch inquisitor of authority figures, 11-year-old Jiovanni, a troubled leader who oscillates between doggedly pursuing his interests and wreaking havoc, and Alex Khost, the school’s youthful founder and director who has dreamed of opening a free school since he was a teenager. As the children figure out how direct democracy works and what to do with their time, the weight of one person’s destructive tendencies increasingly bear down on the small community.
Both director Amanda Rose Wilder and school founder Alex Khost will be in attendance and will join audiences after the screening for a discussion.