________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 33 . . . . May 1, 2015


How Does It Feel.

Lawrence Jackman (Director). Annette Clarke (Producer).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 2013.
34 min., 35 sec., DVD, $19.95 (school price), Download, Free for CAMPUS members, $6.95 Download HD, $3.95 Download.
Order Number: 153C9911247.

Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up.

Review by Frank Loreto.

**** /4


      Popular culture has entrapped us in a false world of beauty and perfection. Those in the entertainment world are expected to be perfect in whatever entertainment field they are in. Voices that are not quite able can be studio enhanced to sound true. Cosmetic alterations can remove body "imperfections" and enhance what nature did not see fit to enhance. Models in magazines can have their bodies manipulated to the current assessment of what is ideal. Television talent shows delight in mocking those who do not meet the expectations of the judges, and the mockery is expected by the audience if someone not particularly talented or attractive dares to appear. If someone is in the public eye, he or she had better maintain this perfection or the knives of the public will come out.

internal art      So, when 58-year-old Kazumi in How Does it Feel struggles to learn "The Tracks of my Tears" for a public performance, the viewer is probably going to feel uncomfortable. Undaunted by his cerebral palsy, Kazumi is determined to go on stage and sing to his best ability. How he will look is clearly trumped by what he will accomplish.

      How Does It Feel is a film of the struggle for a personal best. No agents will be waiting in the wings of his performance to sign him up for a record deal. He will make no money, and this will not become the beginning of a stellar career. No. This is simply someone trying something very difficult and succeeding. The fact that he is able to carry through the gruelling practices is a testament to both the power of song and Kazumi's inner strength. When he sings, "Take a good look at my face", the viewer has no choice but to do so. He would fail miserably as a poster child for beauty, but as an artist who gives everything he has to achieve his work, Kazumi is an inspiration and gives beauty a new definition.

      How Does it Feel is not an easy film to watch. As Kazumi is the focus of the film, there is no looking away as he works and works to perfect his performance. This is difficult journey for him, and the viewer is along for the duration. The film's length lends itself for viewing in one class period with time for discussion. The film has applicability in many courses — Music, Family Studies, Phys. Ed. — to show the value of struggle. I have to admit I did not enjoy watching the film, but getting to the end with Kazumi is well worth the time.

Highly Recommended.

Frank Loreto, now retired, was the teacher librarian at St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School in Brampton, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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ISSN 1201-9364
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