From Oscar-nominated writer/director Jan Hřebejk (Divided We Fall), THE TEACHER is a black comedy inspired by the true story of a Communist-era school teacher who manipulated her pupils for unprecedented personal gain.

Učiteľka
Director: Jan Hřebejk
Cast: Zuzana Mauréry, Peter Bebjak, Zuzana Konečná, Csongor Kassai
Duration: 103 mins
Country of Origin: Slovakia/Czech Republic

MMature themes, coarse language and brief nudity


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The Teacher

★★★★
“Strong, dark and funny, a Slovak version of Twelve Angry Men (and Women)… Brings us an exceptional villain, a woman whose corruption is aided by communism. It could be set in a school in Broken Hill and still work, because it’s about the human tendency to exploit advantage.”
Paul Byrnes, THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

“An out-of-the-ordinary depiction of an era with one of the best dramatic characters seen on screen this year. Directed intelligently… Do go see it.”
Jason Di Rosso, ABC RADIO NATIONAL

★★★★
“Impressive.”
David Stratton, THE AUSTRALIAN

“Exceptional. It functions beautifully on parallel levels, marrying a character-driven story with social concerns. Adroitly structured and sure-handed, it plays out with great skill, right down to a pitch-perfect finale. Wonderfully entertaining.”
Kenneth Turan, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES

★★★★
“Memorable. One of the most insightful and eye-opening films on the failings of European Communism I have seen. It dissects the way power could be abused in the most subtle, petty and quotidian ways by ordinary citizens. Whether read as a national allegory or not, ‘The Teacher’ packs quite a punch.”
Lynden Barber, LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE

“A surefire crowdpleaser. Smoothly written, expertly directed and spiced with plenty of dry, dark Czech humour, it’s a dip into the recent Communist past which offers a morality lesson that has lost none of its relevance with the change of regimes and the passing of time.”
Dan Fainaru, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL

“A lot of fun. Satirises communist with style and tackles Czech history in a way that the whole world should watch. 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. Hřebejk’s needle-sharp take on the perils of doing the wrong thing for the right reasons touches a nerve.”
David Ehrlich, INDIEWIRE

“The prolific Czech director-writer duo Jan Hrebejk and Petr Jarchovsky return to top form with this compelling dramedy. An intelligent and universally resonant crowd-pleaser.”
Alissa Simon, VARIETY

“Intriguing and enlightening. The period design is astonishing. Mauréry delivers a doozy of a turn… utterly convincing, nuanced, funny and slightly terrifying.”
CJ Johnson, ABC RADIO

WINNER – 2016 KARLOVY VARY FILM FESTIVAL – BEST ACTRESS
WINNER – 2017 SLOVAK ACADEMY AWARDS – BEST FILM, ACTRESS, SCREENPLAY, MUSIC & AUDIENCE AWARD

From Oscar-nominated writer/director Jan Hřebejk (Divided We Fall), THE TEACHER is a wildly entertaining black comedy inspired by the true story of a Communist-era school teacher who manipulated her pupils and their families for unprecedented personal gain.

The early 1980s, Czechoslovakia. At the start of a new term at a suburban high school, a seemingly empathetic and kind new teacher, the middle-aged Maria Drazděchová greets her class. She asks them to introduce themselves and share what their parents do for a living, explaining that it’s important to know how their parents might collectively help the group. Soon after, she gradually begins to pressure both students and parents by seeking favours – grocery collection, handyman assistance, lifts and haircuts – and connecting them with special treatment in class and, most significantly, good grades.

Before long Maria’s demands grow more complex and dangerous, so when a serious incident finally draws her unscrupulous behavior to her colleagues, the principal calls a secret meeting, seeking parents to sign a petition to move “Comrade Drazděchová” on from the school. But her high connections with the Communist Party hang above everyone in the room, and it’s soon evident that standing up for what’s right may be much easier said than done.

With production design and cinematography that recreates the era to wonderful effect, THE TEACHER delivers a timeless and universal story of opportunism, bias and human dignity. Laced with wicked humour and standout performances, this rousing morality tale employs a delicate touch to skewer not only the complications of communism, but the human characteristics that ensure it never quite works out as expected.

MORE…
“Human behaviour is just one of the lessons in ‘The Teacher'” – Jan Hřebejk and Zuzana Mauréry with Fairfax‘s Stephanie Bunbury.

“Filmmaker Jan Hrebejk on Communist-Era Drama ‘The Teacher’” – Variety.

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