Synopsis by Nathan Southern
Thai co-helmers Areeya Chumsai and Nisa Kongsri's documentary Innocence explores a defiantly non-traditional school for the children of hill tribes in northern Thailand. The pupils, most of whom hail from the Hmong and Karen groups, are educated by benevolent teacher Prayoon Kamchai, and instructed in basic life survival skills, with subjects ranging from growing vegetables to caring for livestock. The institution thus functions as more of a farming community than a traditional western school. Kamchai's behavior typically waxes so selfless, compassionate, and thougtful that he comes across as something of a saint. As a result, the children project a permanent (and understandable) devotion to him. This picture represents one of a handful of documentaries to prompt active social change: when Thai authorities viewed it, they withdrew a government amendment that would have drastically reduced indigenous educational funding.
minority, school, Thailand, education, tribe, gardener, gardens, livestock, seaside