Monday, August 30, 2021

The School of Housewives

Hússtjórnarskólinn, class of 2019

This documentary, about a school for the domestic arts in Iceland, is a measured look at a venerable institution that seems to be from a time gone by, but still manages to retain its relevancy in the modern age.

Young women (as well as a few young men) have been going there for over 80 years, learning all the little things needed to run a ‘proper’ household. I found it fascinating, not just for the subject matter, but also for its quietude; its leisurely pace. Stefanía Thors directs with a sensibility that is seldom seen in modern documentaries; some scenes are silent except for the ticking of a clock. Modern interviews are inter-cut with vintage 8mm footage, linking the past to present. It was shot pre-Covid, I wonder how the school fared during this crisis. Below is the link to the complete film, it may not be up for long:

The Nordic school that creates the perfect housewife.

At seventy-five minutes it may seem to be overly long for such a modest subject but if you allow yourself to succumb to its charms you will be amply rewarded.

By Professor Batty


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