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The Student

Thursday, April 06, 2017
3:30 p.m.
Roxie Theater

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Sunday, April 16, 2017
5:30 p.m.
YBCA Screening Room

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017
9:00 p.m.
Victoria Theatre

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Wielding his worn copy of the Bible like a hammer, a teenage religious zealot emerges abruptly in the opening passages of Kirill Serebrennikov's The Student. The camera introduces Venya (Pyotr Skvortsov) from behind a stained glass window that’s backlit and radiant with color, but the boy is lying down in darkness, manically thumbing through his holy book. When his single mother comes home from work, she’s baffled by her son’s newfound religiosity. As they start to quarrel, it looks like The Student will tell a typical story of family dysfunction. Instead, the director moves the emotional locus to Venya’s school. There, he engages in a battle of wills with Elena (Viktoriya Isakova), a teacher who applies facts and logic to every one of his scriptural arguments. She fails to persuade her colleagues that the boy isn’t simply espousing his firmly held faith—he is actually unstable. Elena becomes a Cassandra-like figure, disregarded and disbelieved, even as Venya’s madness affects school policy. Scene after carefully constructed scene, his strange charisma grows until his dogmatic fervor builds up to an infectious fever point. —Jeffrey Edalatpour

Filmmaker Bio(s)

Kirill Serebrennikov is a Russian writer and director whose career in television and film dates back to 2001. He is also the Art Director at the Gogol Center in Moscow. There he staged The Student, originally a play by Marius von Mayenburg, before adapting it for film. The Student was nominated for the Un Certain Regard Award at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. His previous film Betrayal was nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 2012.
Film Details
  • Country(ies): Russia
  • Language(s): Russian
  • Year: 2016
  • Running time: 118
  • Director(s): Kirill Serebrennikov
  • Producer(s): Ilya Stewart, Diana Safarova, Yury Kozyrev
  • Writer(s): Kirill Serebrennikov
  • Cinematographer(s): Vladislav Opelyants
  • Editor(s): Yury Karikh
  • Music: Ilya Demutsky
  • With: Pyotr Skvortsov, Victoria Isakova, Aleksandr Gorchilin

Print Source:
Under the Milky Way
175 Varick Street
New York, NY 10014