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The Teacher

Ucitelka

Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema

The prolific Czech director-writer duo Jan Hřebejk and Petr Jarchovský (Divided We Fall) return to top form with the compelling Slovak-language dramedy The Teacher. Set in Bratislava during the final decade of communism, it examines the abuse of power at a middle school. Zuzana Mauréry (named best actress at Karlovy Vary) tears into the part of a lifetime as a terrifying instructor who heads the local Communist Party and uses her pupils to manipulate their parents for her own personal benefit…

The action cleverly cuts between two strands that ultimately join together. One kicks off at the beginning of the 1983 school year and the other starts in 1984 during a secret meeting between the school’s head teacher (Ina Gogalova) and the parents of students taught by the unscrupulous educator where the divide between the teacher’s supporters and detractors is brought into focus…

[Meanwhile] middle-aged Comrade Drazdechova (Mauréry) greets her new class of tweens by asking them to introduce themselves and share what their parents do for a living. She explains that she is a widow of a high-ranking military officer and that it’s good to know how the parents might help the class… But not every parent is willing or able to satisfy Drazdechova’s demands…

Although dealing with weighty matters, Jarchovsky’s script (which is based on a real-life incident he experienced during primary school) is leavened with welcome humor and irony… The film’s coda is delicious.—Alissa Simon, Variety

Best Actress, Karlovy Vary 16

Canadian premiere
Director Jan Hřebejk
Country of Origin: Czech Republic/Slovakia
Year: 2016
Running Time: 102 mins
Format: ProRes
Cast: Zuzana Mauréry, Csongor Kassai, Zuzana Konečná, Tamara Fischer, Martin Havelka
Producer: Tibor Búza, Zuzana Mistríková, Ľubica Orechovská, Ondřej Zima, Jan Prušinovský
Screenwriter: Petr Jarchovský
Cinematographer: Martin Žiaran
Editor: Vladimír Barák
Music: Michal Novinski
Art Director: Juraj Fábry
Production Company: PubRes / Rozhlas a televízia Slovenska / Offside Men / Česká televize
Print Source: LevelK

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