Imagine French film Piano Teacher with an American Indie twist, and you might have something close to A Teacher. The film premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival and is director Hannah Fidell’s debut feature-length production. Fidell has been lauded by many as one of the American independent directors to watch over the next few years, and when watching this film it becomes apparent why. Fiddell has used A Teacher to explore the inner psyche and ethical dilemmas that surround the teacher-student relationship.
Lindsay Burdge plays Diana, an attractive English teacher at a high school in Austin, Texas. 17 year-old Eric, played by Will Brittain, is her student. A relationship begins and lustful encounters ensue in the bedroom and (of course!) the backseat of a car. It soon becomes clear that Diana has never really progressed past her ‚Äúhigh school‚Äù psyche, particularly when observing the duo’s illicit and taboo encounters. This is alluded to in a beautiful filmic moment where she reveals to Eric how she used to sneak around with her high school boyfriend, behind her mother’s back.
Throughout the film, Fidell provides us with an interesting insight into repressed female desire. This is demonstrated in Burdge’s well-executed performance of the internal thoughts of Diana, that ultimately lead her down a reckless path of self-destruction. Fidell’s use of several unusual filmmaking techniques, such as jump cut editing, a tense percussion sound aesthetic and long dips to black, also ensure that film is placed firmly within the American Indie genre.
A Teacher – questioning ethical boundaries within the psychosis of love.
A Teacher premieres at 8.25pm tonight, Friday 14 February as part of WM Love Hurts.