NYFF Spotlight: The Student
Posted by Simran Bhalla on 9.21.2011
Why you should see it:
A fast-paced and fast-talking depiction of university politics in Buenos Aires, The Student has been gaining momentum since its international premiere at the Locarno Film Festival. It stars the young Argentinean actor Esteban Lamothe in a breakout performance as Roque, whose interest in both political and sexual power drives his role in a reform campaign that he initially has little interest in. The film highlights both the naïveté and cynicism inherent in government, its setting functioning as a microcosm of larger political worlds. Santiago Mitre’s directorial debut is a detailed and thrilling inside look at the game of politics and its players.
The Student has played at the Toronto International and Locarno Film Festivals. After the New York Film Festival it will go on to play at the BFI London Film Festival.
About the director:
The Student is Argentinean director Santiago Mitre’s first feature film and it has already earned him the title “a South American Aaron Sorkin” from indieWIRE. He has previously worked as a screenwriter, crafting the scripts for Carancho and Leonera, both directed by Pablo Trapero. He also co-directed the film El amor – primera parte with Alejandro Fadel, Martín Mauregui, and Juan Schnitman.
What the critics are saying:
Stepher Farber for The Hollywood Reporter: “Mitre's style is so energetic that the film always has a rushing forward momentum. It also provides a fascinating glimpse into the passionate atmosphere at so many Latin American universities, reminiscent of American colleges in the 60s but very unlike American campus life today."
Maria Delgado for the British Film Institute: “Santiago Mitre crafts an alternative political thriller that brilliantly dissects the predatory ambitions of conflicting factions willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their goal."
What the NYFF programmers say:
"The Student is a first film by Santiago Mitre from Argentina. It’s a film about a young man who comes to Buenos Aires for university and very quickly gets involved in politics. Among the things we liked very much about the film that it really takes political work seriously. People nowadays often dismiss political work as some kind of throwback to the 1960’s, something to be belittled or parodied. The Student actually takes this young man’s political involvement quite seriously and also shows you what hard work politics is. That if you’re really going to be involved, the kinds of sacrifices that are involved, the occasional compromises you have to make. In a way it’s a coming-of-age story in contemporary Buenos Aires, but with this very strong political background. Especially in today’s world it’s important to see a place and a country and a culture where politics is taken seriously." —Richard Peña, Program Director