The Teacher

Compelling, crowd-pleasing drama from Czech director-writer duo Jan Hrebejk and Petr Jarchovsky

Film Review by Michael Jaconelli | 28 Feb 2017
  • The Teacher
Film title: The Teacher (Učitelka)
Director: Jan Hrebejk
Starring: Zuzana Mauréry, Csongor Kassai

Set during the declining years of communism in Bratislava this sharply written tale of one teacher’s abuse of power in a local school skilfully critiques communist rule in 80s Czechoslovakia with a surprising lightness of touch.

The story – inspired by a real-life event in the life of writer Petr Jarchovsky – centres around a meeting of a group of parents concerned about the influence wielded by a teacher over both their children and themselves. Complicating matters is the fact that the teacher – a terrific performance by Zuzana Maurery – is the local secretary of the communist union and that many of the parents seem perfectly happy to improve the grades of their children in return for performing small favours.

Shades of 12 Angry Men colour what follows as a tense and claustrophobic debate amongst the parents is offset by flashbacks laced with a wry humour. A crowd-pleaser with a tight script and astute observations about human nature, The Teacher deserves an audience beyond the film festival circuit.

The Teacher screened at Glasgow Film Festival

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