Directed by Jan Hrebejk (Slovakia, 2016, 103 min.). Slovak with English subtitles. Digital.
In a middle school classroom in Bratislava in 1983, a new teacher, Maria Drazdechova (Zuzana Maurery), asks her students to stand up, introduce themselves, and tell her what their parents do for a living. It slowly becomes clear that the pupils’ grades are related to how willing their guardians are to help Ms. Drazdechova with her errands, her housecleaning, and other random services. After one of the students attempts suicide, the director of the school has no choice but to call for an emergency parents’ meeting to remove the teacher. Yet, because Ms. Drazdechova is also a high-ranking official of the Communist Party, parents are hesitant to sign a petition to transfer her out. The film takes us into a classroom behind the Iron Curtain, where each family must wrestle with the choice between standing up for what they believe in or silently maintaining the status quo.
“[An] intelligent and universally resonant crowd-pleaser…” – Alissa Simon, Variety
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