A young man drops out of university and goes to the police. He's done nothing wrong he just wants a job. A particular job. Playing the victim in murder reconstructions. Maybe by getting close to death he can manage to cheat on his own.
Arthur is the best employee of a collecting firm. He's got a high income and a solid reputation among his colleagues. He risks losing it all at once because of a scandalous video that just ... See full summary »
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 »
Nowadays Russian cinema is more political than ever. And its political word is not shy, it frankly declares war against either bureaucratic or societal corruption (or both), as we can see in Leviathan, Durak, and this film. But the most dangerous enemy in this war, is the scope of the enemy. If you define the whole corrupt society as something to destroy, who will be your allies in this war? No one, for sure. You're as lonely as Don Quixote in his delusions.
Actually, the idea of "the Holy Bible in a human's body" as a character is striking, strengthened by the undeniable references. The viewers are forced to observe how religious fundamentalism can threaten the society, especially when the people around cannot see the big picture, cannot imagine what will come next and feed the beast naively as if donating to the church.
But as I mentioned above, despite the power of its criticism this movie too is unfortunately flawed with the problem of being incapable of providing solution, like similar others. The film rightfully asks: "This religious fundamentalism is poisoning us! What is the antidote to it?" But the answer is perfectly oxymoronical: "We need idealist individuals, but hopeless at the same time due to their loneliness..."
So, according to me it's clear that these "pessimist-idealist" characters represent the directors themselves. They can foresee what's coming, they want to do something, but when they look around they realize that they don't have anyone to cooperate with. So, disappointed with this loneliness, they get critical of the society much more than the problems the society is experiencing. So, contradictorily, what we as the viewers have in the end is not a motivation for action, but a reflection of the pessimism of the director dictating us to sit and smile cynically at the inevitable self-destruction of the society.
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