Australia, 1978, Colour, 58 minutes.
Steve J. Spears, Robin Nevin, Ken Goodlet.
Directed by Ken Cameron.
Temperament Unsuited is the third short film by writer-director Ken Cameron. At first a teacher for the N.S.W. Education Department, he records that experience in Sailing To Brooklyn, and the present film. His second film, called Out Of It (1976) dealt with the unemployed and crime. Steven J. Spears, the author of the successful "The Elocution of Benjamin Franklin", is very good as the teacher-trainee with the touch of the rebel whom we see in his teaching round. Robin Nevin, the star of several Australian films including Libido and The Irishman, is the bored middle-aged teacher. Ken Goodlet is very good as the 'typical teacher'. The film, shot on location in a N.S.W. school and with some of the students, captures very well the atmosphere, the language, the styles of the day-by-day living in the school. It asks many questions. It doesn't offer clear-cut answers but asks many helpful and penetrating questions and leaves it to the audience to draw conclusions. A very good example of the kind of interesting narrative that can be made with a small budget which not only tells a story but also is very good on social observation and critique.
1. The impact of this short film? Slice of life, brevity, Australian, themes of education, human beings?
2. The style of the film and its authentic atmosphere, schools, teacher training, situations, characters, language.. attention to detail of school life, contemporary education issues?
3. Audiences identifying with the situation? The area of interest as regards education - teachers. school administration, curriculum, classes, training? The questions raised?
4. Mark as the focus of the film? The credits and the mime? His place as a teacher-trainee, his response in the initial session, sense of humour, touch of the rebel? The type who starts things? His skills in the rehearsal, his ear for the way people reacted and spoke? His arrival at the school and his manner and dress? His reaction to the teaching of 'Antony and Cleopatra' and the reading of it, the record? 'The Lord of the Flies'? The move outdoors and dramatising 'Lord of the Flies'? His reaction to Anne, liking her, criticising her methods? His identification with the pupils? Manner of speaking with them? The girls and their admiration? His bike and the tyres being let down. his reaction? The sparring with Anne? The outing with her, drinking, spending the night with her? Their discussion? Their models of teaching and education? His relationship with Christine? His room, echoing himself and reflecting his interests and style, left-wing approach. Labour Party support? Christine's reaction to leaving? The review of his work with Ross? The attempt to work with the children again, 'The One Day Of The Year' and the re-enactment of the scene? The examiner and his report? The focus on the title as summing up Mark? How well did the film delineate his character, represent him as a type? Did the screenplay support his views completely? Critical of his views? A portrait of a person and his reactions to the Australian education system?
5. The comparison with Anne? How similar would she have been to Mark at the beginning of her career? The way she had, coped with the teaching, her tiredness, boredom? Her attitudes to the pupils and her treatment of them, authoritarian, moody? Her reaction to the rest of the staff? Her interest in Mark, interest in his experiments, sympathy about the bike? Her preoccupation with herself? Her outing with him, drinking, the sexual encounter? The background of her marriage, her need to talk? Did she change at all through the encounter with Mark? How well delineated as a character, a type? Did the film endorse her views, criticise them?
6. Christine and her enthusiasm, teaching, training, the liaison with Mark and the bond between the two, love, friendship? The class? The part? Her changing? Seeing her at how, the swimming pool. her parents, brother and the camera? (How well observed was the family?) Mark within this situation? Was Christine right in deciding to leave teaching?
7. The picture of the trainer? Ross and his style, attitude towards the trainees, way of speaking? His comments on being out of the day by-day teaching situation? His handling of mark, advice to him?
8. Seedy Yates (the local joke?) and his attitude towards
education - the book hire and his treatment of the students, his attitude towards English, his correcting the students and looking out the window, his manner of rebuking them, the caning of the boys (and Mark's reaction to this and demonstration, Yates' reaction?), his watching of Mark's classes, the encounter outside the classroom? His behaviour in the staff room, calling Mark to the book hire room? His comments as regards the administration of the school, his expectation of the students? The film's critique of his point of view, how necessary are his attitudes in the education system?
9. The picture of the staff room, the buzz of talk, the people involved, the secretary, the duplicating etc.? The P.A. system and the styles of the announcements?
10. The picture of Australian schools - buildings, curriculum. classes and their techniques, the boredom of the children, recreation? The variety of responses of the students? Those that are interested, answering questions asked, listening to 'Antony and Cleopatra', participating in 'Lord of the Flies', re-enacting the drunk sequences from 'The One Day of the Year'? Could the students learn with this kind of method? The passing of exams? The programming of time throughout the day to keep students occupied?
11. To what purpose is education? Mark and his theories of enjoying education? The critique of the critical parent approach to the children? The purpose of teacher- training?
12. The inspector and his presuppositions, his arrival, the various details noted about Mark's failure to comply with expectations? His watching 'The One Day of the Year'? His filling in the form?
13. How well did the film capture the atmosphere of our schools and teaching? A critique not by intellectual argument but by portraying people and situations? Were the right questions asked? The quality of the solutions? The critique of the system and its self-perpetuation? How necessary is opting out of a system? As a solution?