Seeing as this week marks the beginning of the summer holidays for primary school children and teachers (so, how about that Croke Park Agreement huh?) what better time than to bring attention to a brand new Irish short film set in a primary school? Senior Infants is a six minute long, one location film made with limited resources. Don’t let that put you off though. Films like this are proof that all you need is a good script to make an effective comedy film.
Set in a primary school classroom, Senior Infants revolves around a group of teachers who have been forced to come in and participate in a series of ‘team building’ exercises (anyone who has ever taken part in such exercises would be forgiven for thinking that the film is in fact a horror movie) much to their chagrin.
After an initial (as well as excruciating) game of ’20 Questions’, the team leader moves on to the crux of the assembly; revealing the anonymously written secrets of the group. When one particularly interesting secret (perhaps ‘piece of gossip’ would be more appropriate a term here) is revealed, a proverbial witch hunt begins and it’s every teacher for themself as suspicion rises and tempers flare.
The actors of Senior Infants all play their parts well. They are a collection of eccentrics and odd balls that would not feel out of place on the stage of an improvised comedy act. If there is one show-stealer, however, it is Declan Reynolds. Playing a larger than life pig-headed culchie stereotype with an overdeveloped sense of righteous indignation, he doesn’t so much chew the scenery as he devours the entire building! His is a terrific comedic performance.
From a technical standpoint, Senior Infants is nothing overly special. There’s no great flair to the camera or sound work, but there doesn’t really need to be. The simplistic set ups allow the script (which was written by director Diarmuid Hayes and co-writer Kevin Fox) to speak for itself as it provides plenty of chuckle worthy moments and snappy lines, not to mention an ending that takes the viewer by surprise.