After Venya's mother receives a call from school reporting her son's refusal to participate in mixed swimming lessons, she first suspects her teenager of being shy and derides his claim that it is "against his religion." As Venya is finally exempted by the school's devout principal, he grows confident that his strict and rigorous study of the Bible gives him the ability to manipulate all forms of authority. Challenged by a teacher who refuses to consent to his dogma, he sets out to eliminate her and subdue an entire community. At a time when arguments over the teaching of religion in public schools are prominent in the media, this wildly escalating classroom drama - based on a play by German playwright Marius von Mayenburg - serves as a frightening cautionary tale. Written by
Under The Milky Way
The original Russian title "(M)uchenik", with the 'm' in parentheses, is a play on words, a pun, combining the Russian word "muchenik", which means "martyr", with the Russian word "uchenik", which means "student". Because the Russian pun would not be understood, and there is no way to translate it, the simplified title "Uchenik", or "The Student", was used at the Cannes Film Festival 2016. See more »
like many Russian contemporary films, it seems be portrait of near reality from East. in fact, it is a puzzle of questions. about school and about teenager crisis, about the use of religion and the answer of Church, about friendship and fear and teachers, about situation of a student as personal struggle for a woman looking defining his life direction. it could be perceived as attack against Chistianity, as satire or as precise reflection of the state of school. but, more important, it has two virtues - the performances - especially the performance of the lead actor and the status of support for reflection about near every day reality. because it gives nothing new. well known facts, the crisis of a teenager, empty head teachers, a revolutionary Biology teacher, her boy friend, a young student looking for love. each as part of a lucid and admirable interrogation. so, an admirable work.
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