‘The Teacher’ Review: A Communist Satire That’s More Fun Than It Sounds
(published in The IndieWire, 2016, July 8th)
The latest film from "Divided We Fall" director Jan Hřebejk tackles Czech history in a way that the whole world should watch.
Hřebejk, the prolific Czech director behind the likes of “Divided We Fall” and “Kawasaki’s Rose,” completely jives with the script’s careful balancing act between personal drama and political subversion. He directs with an exacting playfulness that recalls the more theatrical work of Joe Wright, his camera swooping between rows of desks and piecing timelines together with precise match cuts. The visibly stylized aesthetic is just arch enough to make it feel as though the movie were entirely shot through side-eye.
But it’s “The Teacher” herself who most effectively ensures that the film maintains a steady balance between dismantling communism and skewering the timeless human qualities that make it so untenable. Mauréry is brilliant in the title role, a symbol of corruption who’s most compelling when she’s right on the brink of becoming a cartoon. It’s a careful tightrope act, but Mauréry never wavers — one moment, Drazděchová is a lonely lady who’s just trying to keep herself busy; the next, she’s the Terminator.
Source: The IndieWire