One of the more beguiling films of 2016 was Matt Ross’ Captain Fantastic, a tale about a father raising a brood of children in the Pacific Northwest woods, and the challenges the family faces when it emerges into “civilization” to confront a family crisis. A much earlier film, 1942’s Tarzan’s New York Adventure, shares its narrative structure: Tarzan and Jane must leave their jungle paradise and confront a threat to their family in the canyons of New York. Both films explore the problems associated with parents’ attempt at educating their children. And in both films the families’ pedagogical agenda is configured by the economic structures of their respective cultures.

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