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Criticism of ‘The Substitute’, for motivated teachers

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Diego Lerman’s film with Juan Minujín, Alfredo Castro and Bárbara Lennie as protagonists reflects the distance between teachers and students.

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    The chronicle of the effort of the most motivated teachers, generally novices, to approach their students in educational centers in depressed areas, with violence and crime gravitating over their classrooms, is not new on the screen. The originality of Lerman’s film lies in approaching it from a cinematography, the Ibero-American one, which has hardly dealt with it. He does it with abundant close-ups, a semi-documentary style, handheld camera sequences and with a notable treatment of sound, with almost inaudible off-screen conversations.

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    The funny thing is that the problems posed to the protagonist do not differ much, despite the temporal and cultural distance, of those faced by teachers with similar proposals, such as the American ‘Seed of Evil’ (Richard Brooks, 1955), the British ‘Rebellion in the Classrooms’ (James Clavell, 1967) or the French ‘Everything Begins Today’ (Bertrand Tavernier, 1999) or ‘The class’ (Laurent Cantet, 2008). Barbara Lennie assumes a small role, as the professor’s ex-wife, which allows her to be heard speaking with the Argentine accent of her Buenos Aires childhood.

    For movie fans with a social message and motivated teachers

    The best: how it reflects the distance between the worlds of teacher and student.

    The worst: Barbara Lennie is wasted.


    Direction: Diego Lermann Distribution: Juan Minujin, Alfredo Castro, Barbara Lennie, Renata Lerman Country: Argentina Year: 2022 Release date: 13–01-2023 Gender: Drama Script: Luciana De Mello, Diego Lerman, Maria Meira Duration: 110 minutes

    Synopsis: Lucio is a professor of Literature at the prestigious University of Buenos Aires. Academic life, however, no longer motivates him: he wants to take his knowledge where he can make a difference, such as teaching literature in a neighborhood on the outskirts of a marginal area of ​​the Buenos Aires suburbs.

    Source: Fotogramas

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