Directed by Kirill Serebrenikov
4th July 2017
Reviewed by Colin Serjent
Despite this being an impressive film the major anomaly was that the so-called schoolchildren that were featured all looked over twenty years of age, with lead character Veniamin Yuzhin (Pyotr Skvotsov) aged 23 in real life!
He is the student of the film’s title, with him forever spouting passages from the bible (the writers of them are superimposed on the screen when he utters them before floating away).
The director Kirill Serebrenikov has clearly made a satire of the indoctrination of the people of the country by the all-encompassing power of the Russian Orthodox Church, even in 2017.
Veniamin’s propensity to quote sayings from over 2000 years ago leads to him having a conflict with Elena (Viktoriya Isakova), the science teacher at the school, which results in him making serious allegations against her in the final scenes of the film.
But oddly, at one stage of the movie, she is shown at home, with notes plastered around her, with passages from the bible. I was bewildered by this development. There was absolutely no indication that she had fallen under her student’s spell.
I could not emphasis with Veniamin but I did admire the ways he constantly questioned peoples set opinions.
The intent of playwright Marius von Mayenburg, who wrote the original story, was to expose the ‘system’ for the falsehoods that it is people who do not fit into the system. This is particularly so in Russia.
Incidentally it was good again, on the film soundtrack, to hear ‘God Is God’ by Laibach, a Slovenian Metal Band, recorded in 1996.
My view of what happens to us when we slip out of our mortal coil is similar to the lyric in the song Philadelphia, written by Bruce Springsteen, ‘Ain’t no angel gonna greet me’.
Forthcoming films to be screened under the’ Discover Tuesday’ heading include Monterey Pop (11 July); Weekend (18 July); Clash (25 July) – I can highly recommend this; The Levelling (1 August) and Kedi (8 August.
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