Hannah Fidell’s A TEACHER (Oscilloscope Laboratories) screened during the SXSW Film Festival in the Festival Favorites category. Fidell is the screenwriter and stars Lindsay Burdge and Will Brittain. The film enjoyed several opportunities for screenings, including: Saturday, March 9th at 11:15am at the Violet Crown Cinema 3&4 – SXSW Premiere Sunday, March 10th at 9:30pm at the SXSatellite: Alamo Village Theatre – Public Screening #2 Thursday, March 14th at 11:15am at the Alamo Ritz 1 – Public Screening #3
I admired the performances, despite that it is well known that this behavior between a teacher and her student is totally inappropriate, it is still hard to watch her self destruct as she pursues the affair.
Diana, a young, attractive teacher at a suburban Texas high school, is well-liked by her students and colleagues. Her life seems to be following the status quo, but in reality she’s having a secret affair with her student Eric. She confides in no one but him, reveling in the teenage terrain of sexting and backseat quickies. Even when the risk of discovery looms over their relationship, her investment in the fantasy remains stronger than reality. Unable to control herself, she heads down a reckless path of self-destruction.
The subject of a teacher-student affair may be tabloid fodder, but writer/director Hannah Fidell resists sensationalism or the temptation to pathologize her protagonist. At its core, Diana’s affair with her student is the manifestation of her avoidance of responsibility, and the film lets us in on her internal struggle. With bold vision, Fidell uses highly controlled pacing, silky camera movements, and a tense percussive sound aesthetic to free her narrative from the confines of convention, while a fascinating performance by Lindsay Burdge transports us into Diana’s head space, where her unabated obsession lives.
The film went on to participate in the Dallas International Film Festival in April and won the Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize.
Oscilloscope Laboratories will release A TEACHER in theaters later this year.
(2012, 75 minutes, color, U.S.A.)
Source: Oscilloscope Labratories, SXSW, Dallas International Film Festival