Archives / 2013 Sundance Film Festival

A Teacher

Film Still

Director: Hannah Fidell

Screenwriters: Hannah Fidell

Institute History

  • 2013 Sundance Film Festival

Description

Diana, a young, attractive teacher at a suburban Texas high school, is well-liked by her students and colleagues. Her life seems to be following the status quo, but in reality she’s having a secret affair with her student Eric. She confides in no one but him, reveling in the teenage terrain of sexting and backseat quickies. Even when the risk of discovery looms over their relationship, her investment in the fantasy remains stronger than reality. Unable to control herself, she heads down a reckless path of self-destruction.

The subject of a teacher-student affair may be tabloid fodder, but writer/director Hannah Fidell resists sensationalism or the temptation to pathologize her protagonist. At its core, Diana’s affair with her student is the manifestation of her avoidance of responsibility, and the film lets us in on her internal struggle. With bold vision, Fidell uses highly controlled pacing, silky camera movements, and a tense percussive sound aesthetic to free her narrative from the confines of convention, while a fascinating performance by Lindsay Burdge transports us into Diana’s head space, where her unabated obsession lives.


(Archives note: see also Hannah Fidell's Meet The Artist interview on our YouTube Channel.)

— K. Y.

Screening Details

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