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Victor Sluzhkin signs on as a teacher of geography in a secondary school in his native Perm (in the Urals) and gets lost in a haze of hard vodka, desperate love for a nymphet-like student and the stress of educating teenagers. Geographer, as the students immediately dub Sluzhkin, attempts to escape from the grueling, dull, stultifying reality of Russia's provincial life in a rafting tour to the Urals. Accompanied by wild, adventure-seeking adolescents, faced with the numerous grim surprises of the nature, Geographer is poised to find himself and his own truth.Written by
Haifa Film Festival
Inside view in lifes of average Russian citizens and a highschool classroom. Plus an adventurous journey of a teacher and his class through unfriendly nature
I saw this film at the Leiden film festival 2013 (LIFF). Nice inside view in everyday's life of average Russian citizens, and an average highschool classroom. Not sure how "average" it all is, since we have no means for comparison. It is a depressing view, but the interwoven humor softens it all and turns this movie into a digestible package.
The tone is set in the opening scene in a train, where our main character tries to mislead a ticket inspector team by gesturing that he is mute/deaf. Initially they believe him and let him alone, but a few moments later his reflex when his mobile phone rings, exposes him. The remainder of the movie is full of such "small" events.
Do not expect a story with a prologue, a happy end, and the main story in between. The first half is about normal people, a typical cross section of Russian citizens, and how they pass their days. We see neighbors intruding in other people's lives, to an extent we cannot imagine in our Western world where our home is our castle.
The second half is a field trip undertaken by our main character, the geography teacher who was never trained for such a position but he needed the money. He is accompanied by part of his class, who never use his real name but consistently call him "geographer". The field trip actually came forth from a lost card game with one of the students. His prize would have been a "smooth" class for the rest of the semester. It turns out to be an adventurous struggle with nature, combined with the mixed successes he has in dealing with the variety of adolescents in his company.
All in all, though defying all standard rules of storytelling, the net result is very watchable, partly thanks to the humor embedded in the scenario, partly thanks to the variety of participating characters. More people felt this way: this film ranked 3rd for the audience award with average score 4.41 (out of 5).
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