SFF Turns Newgate Students Into Film Critics



Partnering with the Sarasota Film Festival, students from Newgate Montessori got to try their hands as movie critics. Working with education docents from the Sarasota Film Festival Education Department and taking a course on the theory of film review, the students took a stab at reviewing one of the films coming to this year’s festival called The Teacher. A satire set in communist Czechoslovakia, a small town is turned upside down by the appearance of a judgmental teacher both easily bribable and influential in the communist party. “We are excited to see how much the students enjoyed and connected with this film,” says Sarasota Film Festival Director of Education and Community Outreach, “and hope you will be as well.” SRQ has two to share today.

What would you do if your teacher demanded to know your parents’ professions on the first day of school? What if your grade depended on your answer? The Teacher, a foreign film directed by Jan Hrebejk from Czechoslovakia, explores the lives of students faced with those exact questions. Using a middle school class, this witty satire highlights the way things might have been if you went to school in Czechoslovakia during the late 1980s. I’d say the best way to explain the situation is that this teacher takes “extra credit” to a whole new level using intimidation, manipulation and humiliation. I walked into this film expecting a foreign satire, and I walked out with much more. I learned more about that time period in another country. I observed the dynamics within that particular school. I understood the actions and consequences behind the characters. Plus, I learned all of these things with emotion. I laughed at some parts and felt sad at others, and I felt myself connecting with many of the characters. The Teacher is an interesting satire that directly reflects the complicated aspects of that time. Review by Tianna Levine, 10th grade

As the story progresses, the audience learns that neither the students, nor the parents, nor the teachers like this new teacher. The Teacher as a whole was extremely well done, containing fantastic lighting, cinematography and an insightful take on communism. It shows the audience how school was in countries that were affected by communism, and how communism still continues to have strong aftereffects on schools in Europe. This film is a definite must-watch that will take you on a rollercoaster ride of mixed feelings. Review by Jett Laub, 9th grade

The Teacher screens at Regal Hollywood 20 April 2 at 12:30pm and April 4 at 4:15pm as part of the Sarasota Film Festival.

Pictured: Zuzana Maur�ry in "The Teacher." Photo courtesy of SFF.

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