Full title: The Memory of the Hands. Echoes of C. Freinet’s pedagogic legacy in Murcia
‘The Memory of the Hands‘ is the kind of hybrid documentary that is worth your time. From the beginning Alfonso Burgos Risco proposes powerful images with deep and subtle meanings where the hands of the professor are guiding the young scholar through a machine that looks like nothing you have ever seen before. The movie continues on the basis of a narrative feature film where the main concern is to recover the experiences and the pedagogical principles of Celestin Freinet.
As we previously stated, the topic is unique, concerning the revision of the teaching methodologies developed by Celestin Freinet and used by teachers in public schools in the 1970s and 1980s in Murcia, Spain. What we enjoyed the most in this film was the blend between the animated parts, the informative bits and the easy going narrative.
The cinematography is neat, with very few flaws in the construction part. But the overflow of information sometimes is lowering the tempo of the movie. The long shots with different people offering too much information makes the film feel too long and there is an acute need to have it more straight to the point. What we would have liked to see were some more interactive scenes or relevant archive footage that would have eased the transition between the blended genres.
Taking in consideration that ‘The Memory of the Hands’ wants to be a hybrid documentary, the acting is important for the movie. We did not expect to see the slightly mechanical way some of the characters performed, showing almost no emotions in the narrative parts.
The soundtrack is good, filling in the moments when the acting is shaky. What could have been improved in this section was the audio editing and by this we mean the truncation of the unwanted noise in the speech parts.
We usually look at short films and think about the ease of turning them into feature films. In this case we look at a feature film and we think it would have been almost no difference if ‘The Memory of the Hands’ was a featurette or even a short movie; the topic is interesting but the whole story could have fit in a 30 minutes long film. Although it can hardly be identified as a feature film in the true sense of the meaning, Alfonso Burgos Rico’s movie is a pleasant proposal for a rainy afternoon with your smart friends who are willing to learn something new every time they press play.