dramamovies Newsletter

Drama Movies

January 11 2016 Drama Movies Newsletter

"The essential thing is never to abandon contact with real life in favor of a cerebral construct. You must start out by experiencing and taming what is around you before starting to impact all the necessary twists and turns to reality. It is best for the writing to come last, when the essential has already been found." Jean-Claude Carriere from his book "The Secret Language of Film"

The week's film, "The Lesson", has a certain similarity to "Two Days, One Night". Both films feature a working mother as the central character, and both women experience economic distress. "The Lesson" is more melodramatic and darker in tone, even though it is rooted in reality. The filmmakers, Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov, were inspired by a headline in the newspaper and wrote a script that filled in the backstory.

American films with working women as the protagonist are typically comedies or romantic comedies, think "Trainwreck", "The Intern", "Working Girl", or "The Devil Wears Prada". American filmmakers seem to shy away from depicting the economic realities affecting women in a dramatic context. Although "The Lesson" was produced in Bulgaria, I think female audiences anywhere can identify with the experiences of Nade, the main character.

After watching the Golden Globe Awards last night, I moved over to PBS and caught the second half of a documentary that happened to also discuss film. "Chuck Norris vs. Communism" shows how the traffic in bootleg videotapes undermined the dictatorship of Ceausescu in Romania during the 1980s. American films were smuggled into the country, dubbed in Romanian, and then copied and distributed. The population did this at a risk. The security forces could enter people's homes at will, confiscating VCRs and arresting the owners. Filmmaker Ilinea Calugareanu illustrates how movies were a window to the outside world for people living under authoritarian rule. While viewing it, I was reminded of Haskell Wexler's comment that being a filmmaker is both a privilege and a responsibility. You can watch the entire documentary, which aired as part the Independent Lens series, on the PBS website.

Here's the latest article from the Drama Movies site at BellaOnline.com.

The Lesson Film Review
A teacher's illusion of control is shattered when she is beset by a series of economic disasters. What lesson awaits her in this tense drama from Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov?


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