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Leaf (Lístek) — Aliona Baranova, 2020

A sailor who spends his working life going from port to port, picking up new travellers, is moved by a young girl who comes on board. When she comes, she brings with her a leaf from the mainland which she gifts to the sailor. The sailor, popping it in his pocket, returns to the multitude of chores he has to complete in order for the ship to run efficiently. It is evident that the sailor works very hard to ensure his ship has everything it needs to complete its journey. However, at the end of a hard day of work, he rediscovers the leaf he had put safely in his pocket. This sparks a memory of his home on the mainland. He continues the rest of his journey, finally disembarking in his hometown to return to his house.

This charming film, animated in the style of sepia watercolour, leaves us thinking about home and what that means. It also examines the idea of balancing work and play and the importance of grounding yourself.

Classroom Activities

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  • Before watching, tell the pupils the title of the film. Ask them what they think the title might mean. Give them 1 minute to discuss with a shoulder/learning partner before sharing with class.
  • Sound On/Vision Off. Listen to the first 30 secs to 1 min of the film, without the visuals. What do you hear (music/speech/sound effects)? Does this match the prediction from the title?
  • Watch the film to 01:32. Why does the sailor keep the leaf? Why might this be important to him? Do you think this will feature later in the film? Why/why not? Watch the rest of the film, then ask the last questions again.
  • What colours can you see? What are the main colours? How do these colours make us feel? Extension: Is there anything other than the colours that give us the same feeling (music/camera/speed)?
  • Why has the filmmaker decided to make the sailor so large compared to the other characters? What does this tell us?
  • What do we know about the sailor character? Does he have family? What country does he live in? Does he spend most of his life on the boat? Pupils should be encouraged to use evidence from the text to answer these questions, rather than just guesswork.


  • Where is it set? Are there clues? Does it look like somewhere you have been? Are there key landmarks that might help?
  • What is a cruise? Do you know what a cruise is? Has anyone been on a cruise? How is it different from other types of holiday? What would be good about it? Is there anything you wouldn’t like about being on a cruise?
  • Influences on the Director 1 - Aliona Baranova is concerned about the environment and has an ambition to make an animated children’s series. Is there evidence to support this motivation in the text? Younger viewers: What can you see that tells you about the environment?
  • Influences on the Director 2 (For older pupils) - Aliona Baranova was born in Russia but spent her early life in Belarus. She then went to study Czech Republic and has stayed there to create her art in Prague. Where are these places? How close to the United Kingdom are they? What facts can you find about these places (population etc)? Do you think living in Prague has influenced the film?



  • Brainstorm what a full day for the sailor might be like. What other activities might he have to complete? Complete a diary entry.
  • Make a list of things that make you feel calm. This could be displayed as a wall display to encourage pupils to try each other’s different strategies to find peace and calm.
  • What happens next in the film? This should be based on what you have seen in the film, using evidence from the text.


  • Using watercolours/pencils, re-create your own home village/town/city, thinking about key landmarks you would include. Pay particular attention to the colour scheme to make sure it matches the film.


  • Working in pairs, act out the conversation with the sailor. This should fit with the film and use evidence from the text to inform the conversations. This can be completed in larger groups too, with multiple passengers.


  • Design a new soundtrack for the film. Use musical instruments (tuned percussion?) and scrap items to create a new soundtrack to accompany the film. Groups should take it in turn to play their soundscape over the muted film.

Clip Details

Year of Production 2020
Genre Animation
Curriculum Areas Expressive Arts, Health and Wellbeing, Modern Languages, Literacy and English
Director Aliona Baranova
Country of Origin Czech Republic
Medium / Content 2D Animation, Fiction, Colour, Sound, No Dialogue
Themes Feelings, Loss / Memories, Work / Ambition, Identity / Self, Food / Environment
Clip Length 05:40
Clip Length 05:40
Age Group P1-P4, P5-P7