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The Student (15) + intro by Lucy Ash

Generations: Russian Cinema of Change


Rebellion not through dress or music, but by strictly following the religious text.

Set in contemporary Russia, a high school student becomes convinced the world has been lost to evil. He rebels not through dress or music – but by interpreting the Bible’s code of conduct as rigidly as possible.

His strict orthodoxy comes up against various forces, including the high school’s priest and his biology teacher – a young woman who advocates liberalism and sexual education at school. As the conflict between them develops, things become not as they seem.

Based on a recent play by German dramatist Marius von Mayenburg, The Student allegorically depicts how the once persecuted Russian Orthodox Church has gained new power and become a defining characteristic of Russian identity, following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Currently under house arrest for allegations of masterminding a fraud involving state funding, Kirill Serebrennikov is one of the most prominent theatre directors, founder of The Gogol Centre (Russia’s leading avant-garde theatre in Moscow).

Russia 2016 Dir Kirill Serebrennikov 118 min

Presented in partnership with New East Cinema, a cultural collective bringing contemporary cinema from eastern Europe and beyond to the UK.

This season is part of our 2018 season The Art of Change, which explores how the arts respond to, reflect, and potentially effect change in the social and political landscape.

Lucy Ash is an award-winning broadcast journalist with more than 20 years’ experience as a BBC correspondent, presenter and senior producer, whose recent work focuses on Russia and the former Soviet Union.

‘As Venya’s spiritual awakening spirals violently out of control, Serebrennikov’s filmmaking soars and swells with grandly tragic volume‘


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