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The Teacher(Učiteľka)

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

Slovakia, Czech Republic
·
2016

1h 42m

Director Jan Hřebejk
Starring Zuzana Mauréry, Csongor Kassai, Zuzana Konečná, Tamara Fischer

Genre Drama, Comedy

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The bizarre story of Mrs. Drazdechova, a well-connected elementary school teacher who blackmails her students' parents for benefits. One day, after some especially jarring incidents, the principal of the elementary school calls a parents meeting to address the disturbing situation --- a situation that is far from easy to resolve.

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70

Village Voice by Aaron Hillis

The setup may be as unsubtle as a metaphoric morality lesson about Europe’s not-too-distant past, or perhaps it’s politically timeless; it’s not a far leap to also think about a certain someone’s insane need for backscratching loyalty within the White House.
90

Variety by Alissa Simon

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.... As usual, Hrebejk’s direction is smooth and the ensemble performances top-notch.
70

The Hollywood Reporter by Boyd van Hoeij

Though somewhat slow out of the starting blocks, this finally caustic drama, set in early 1980s Bratislava (then in Czechoslovakia), accumulates power and insight as it builds over the course of a tense parents-teachers conference, punctuated with the necessary flashbacks.
80

Screen International by Dan Fainaru

Maurery handles her character, a nasty piece of work to be sure, with such natural aplomb that she makes Mrs Drazdechova not only perfectly credible but pretty scary too.
83

IndieWire by David Ehrlich

Jan H?ebejk’s The Teacher is a sardonic, richly seriocomic morality play that uses a delicate touch to explore why communism never seems to work out in the long run.
100

Los Angeles Times by Kenneth Turan

Like the remarkable films Eastern European countries turned out regularly during the Soviet era, it marries a character-driven story with social concerns, in this case a deft parable about the kind of corrupt privileged society nominally egalitarian Socialism created.

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