CIFF Diary: Day 4, pt. 4 - Sex and Politics in Argentina

10/10 - Santiago Mitre's The Student was written up in the CIFF guide as having earned comparisons to Godard and Truffaut, and although The Student takes us into the streets of Buenos Aries in the same way that the French New Wave favored the streets of Paris over the prison of studio production, The Student may not have earned those comparisons entirely.  The Student focuses on the politicization of young Roque (Esteban Lamothe), who gives a strong central performance in this low budget feature, which does manage to engage us in Roque's journey from his rural home town to the University of Buenos Aries, where he is introduced to the activist fervor of the student movement.

Esteban Lamothe in The Student
I can't say the same for the second half of the film, which takes us from the classroom activism and after hours sexual encounters of Roque's college experience to the unforgiving and somewhat paranoid world of real Argentinian politics.  Speaking of, if you are not at least a bit versed in the complexity of current Argentinian politics, The Student might not be for you.  At the same time, I found it an interesting introduction to that world, if not an entirely engaging narrative.  Judging from the light number of walk-outs on the film Monday night, I think those who were totally confused by the politics also felt the narrative trajectory was lacking a bit.

Santiago Mitre's The Student
The film makes some interesting moves in paralleling Roque's political involvement with his sexual and romantic relationships, which are particularly well drawn in the performances of his two female co-stars,  Romina Paula and Valeria Correa, but I wanted the film to go farther with those parallels, as it ultimately didn't seem to be able to open up anything resonant in relation to those established themes.  The Student has finished screening at the CIFF, but may be worth seeking out for those with a particular interest in gaining a framework for this place and time in history.

Up Next:  Twin performance and video artists Lisbeth and Angelique Raeven are featured in the documentary L.A. Raeven, with director Lisa Boerstra in attendance.

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