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La Mirada invisible (The Invisible Eye)

Directed by Diego Lerman

Argentina, 2010

Cornerhouse, 17 March 2012

The Invisible Eye

Lerman’s film is an involving drama – and while a political allegory can be found if you go looking for it, it’s not intrusively pushed.

It’s set in an exclusive school during the last years of the Argentine dictatorship.  The pupils are strictly disciplined and monitored, force-fed tales of Argentina’s glorious history, controlled with an iron rod.  We follow a sexually repressed teacher who’s especially attracted to one of her pupils.  Off her own bat, she decides to take the art of surveillance to a whole new level.  But the eye can be seduced by what it surveys.

There’s a splendid central performance by Julieta Zylberberg as the teacher in question.  Her portrait of a conflicted, erotically wounded woman is quite simply wonderful.  The nature of her affliction means that she’s not quite on the side of the status quo, not entirely at ease with her pupils, nor at ease within her own skin.

As a depiction of the collapse of order, the film will, rightly, evoke comparisons with Lindsay Anderson’s classic If…  This impressive film is, however, told from the oppressor’s viewpoint.

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