Review: El Estudiante (The Student)

by Lucy in Baires, contributing blogger

The Student is Roque Espinosa (played by Esteban Lamothe), a young guy from the countryside that comes to Buenos Aires to pursue university studies for the third time. It is not long until he realises that nothing interests him. He shows no vocation and wanders the crowded university halls to make friends and meet girls. One of them, Paula, an associate professor, introduces him to the hotbed of University politics.

The turning point is when he meets Alberto Acevedo, an old retired politician. Next to him, Roque learns politics codes and works with and behind students’ leaders. He feels he’s finally found his calling but not everything is what it seems.

Santiago Mitre, a young promising director, only 30, wrote and directed El Estudiante. It is not his ‘opera prima’ but his name is known for being one of the four directors of El Amor (2004) and one of the co-screenwriters behind Trapero’s movies such as Leonera and Carancho (2010).

The film gives the viewer a facinating look at University politics, which while very insular, has captivated audiences all over the world, including the Special Jury Prize at BAFICI, ADF Prize for Best Photography, FEISAL (Argentine film critics) prize and it is not over yet, as it appeared in the 2011 Locarno International Film Festival and Toronto.

Mitre asked for INCAA (the Argentine Film Board) for funding and was denied hence he had to modify the strategy of shooting unable to afford the costs of reproducing the overcrowded university’s environments. The irony turns up: while the film is entirely fictional and a convincing cast of young actors follow the script, the movie was filmed in the halls of the Faculty of Social Sciences with real students and the Students Centre’s help.

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