Paper Clips

Paper Clips (2004)

Lead by the inspirational principal Linda Hooper and teacher Sandra Roberts, a class of middle school kids in Whitwell, Tennessee begins collecting one paper clip of each of the six million victims of the Holocaust; the paper clip being a signifier of Norwegian resistance to Nazi occupation. This enterprise grows to unexpected proportions, involving witnesses, benefactors, and patrons from across the world. Elliot Berlin and Joe Fab's film is simply constructed and tells a straightforward but incredibly valuable story. Hooper points out early on that her community is very homogeneous, almost exclusively white and in poverty, and learning tolerance is something she can bring to benefit all. Teacher David Smith bravely relates his own story, and subsequent shame, of using racial slurs in the presence of his African American college room-mate. While the musical choices and voice-over narration were not to my liking, I have the feeling that I'm not the audience Berlin and Fab had in mind.

Conversation starters

  • If you have any kids aged ten to sixteen, they should see this film
  • At one stage they calculated that it might take up to ten years to collect enough paper clips, but their perseverance only wavered slightly.
  • I was actually expecting a documentary about Dilbert...

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