We All Might Learn A "Lesson" Review

Someone has just stolen my wallet.

When a student's wallet is stolen, English teacher Nade (Margita Gosheva) takes the matter very seriously, using all her rhetorical skills to guilt the culprit into a confession. No one confesses. It weighs on her and she vows to teach the little thief a lesson. Things at home are pretty rocky as well. Her husband Mladen (Ivan Barnev), while a caring father, has a problem with alcohol and money. When the creditors threaten to take the house, Nade has to scramble to get the money together. She tries to shake down a deadbeat boss who has yet to pay her for her translation work. She takes out loans. She tries to get some money from her estranged father. At every turn, something goes wrong and Nade is living every moment on the edge of personal disaster. The impunity of that little thief looms larger and larger in her mind.

The Lesson (2014) is a really good film that very few people will see. It is like a Bulgarian version of the Dardenne's Two Days, One Night (2014). It's a quiet film with no musical score and close, documentary style cinematography. Co-written and directed by Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov, the plot flows like an expanded short story. The giant irony that you expect at every turn is obstructed by another frustrating hurdle for Nade to overcome. And when the expected hypocrisy comes, it loses the delicious flavor you usually find in Maupassant or Chekov. There's too much reality and humanity to Nade's desperation to let the audience smugly pass judgment.

Bonus features

Crooked Candy, a short film about a Bulgarian smuggler of those Kinder eggs.

"The Lesson" is on sale September 1, 2015 and is not rated. Drama. Directed by Kristina Grozeva, Petar Valchanov. Written by Kristina Grozeva, Petar Valchanov.

Oct
12
2015
Jason Ratigan • Staff Writer

A lawyer-turned-something-else with a strong appreciation for film and television.  He knows he can't read every great book ever written, but seeing every good movie ever made is absolutely doable.  Check out his other stuff on Wordpress.

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