I picked this one up in a bookstore awhile ago and was fascinated with the concept, though not enough to lay down actual money for it — I waited till it came to my library. It’s a memoir about how writer and film critic David Gilmour allowed his teenaged son Jesse to drop out of school with only one condition: that he and his father sit down and watch three movies together — selected by Dad — every week.
Gilmour’s premise, I guess, was that his son would get an education through film. Or maybe it was just that watching good movies together would keep their relationship alive during those difficult years. That second part seems to have worked — the film club lasted for three years, during which David and Jesse Gilmour appear to have been surprisingly close for a 16-19 year old son and his father.
Gilmour admits to being less sure how much of an education his son got from watching all those movies — he got an excellent education in film studies, of course, but everything else was a bit sketchy. What he did get was an opening to talk to his dad about almost everything, because everything comes up in the movies.
I guess because I’m the parent of one brilliant child who claims to hate school (and one brilliant child who loves it, but that’s less relevant here) I’ve given a lot of thought to possible ways of dealing with school-resistance in later years, and to unorthodox methods of education — though I can’t imagine ever adopting something quite THIS unorthodox. The Film Club doesn’t really offer anything to answer my pedagogical or parenting questions, though — it’s a very personal memoir, about a three-year period in the life of a father and his son. It’s warm and very readable — though there is perhaps a little too much information about Jesse’s love life, and I found myself hoping that the girls he dated had either signed release forms, or had been very heavily disguised before appearing in the book!