Jan Hrebejk • Slovakia • 2016 • 102 min
Slovak with English subtitles
Set in Bratislava in 1983, when Czechoslovakia was under Communist rule, critically acclaimed director Hrebjek’s latest film revolves around a newly hired teacher, Maria Drazdechova. Maria is a woman with a plan: upon meeting her students, she inquires about their parents’ various lines of work, hoping to use the children’s grades as leverage in order to blackmail their parents into doing her various favours. These range from the menial (fixing her washing machine) to the potentially dangerous (smuggling a cake to Moscow, which could cost a father who works at the airport his job). Sly and witty, Maria maintains a kind-hearted exterior, even when she’s at her most predatory. Darkly comic, The Teacher is a brilliant parable of survival in dangerous times.
Founded in 1984, the European Union Film Festival (EUFF) is an annual showcase of the best of contemporary cinema produced in the European Union. Over the span of nearly three weeks, the Canadian Film Institute brings Ottawa audiences a wide selection of award-winning films from the Festival circuit, never-before-seen in the capital city.
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