Friday, February 1, 2019

This Teacher - 2019 Slamdance Film Festival Movie Review

The Movie: This Teacher

The Director: Mark Jackson

The Cast: Hafsia Herzi, Sarah Kazemy, Lucy Walters, Kevin Kane, Lev Gore, Gabe Fazio, Rebekah del Rio

The Story: A young Muslim woman's vacation to New York City devolves into a nightmare.

The Review:
This is the type of story that needs to be seen by audiences across America so we, as a country, can begin to realize just how much intolerance, ignorance, self righteousness, and prejudice there is when it comes to stereotypes and misconceptions about human beings simply because of how they look or what they represent. Mark Jackson, along with co-writer Dana Thompson have put together a story that breaks all of these things down from the perspective of someone who comes from a world that is even more harsh but in totally different ways.

The movie is also quite funny but in a very natural way that adds a nice balance to when it needs to take on the more difficult and uncomfortable (in a good way) moments. I also loved the lack of a soundtrack which made me feel more involved in the space the characters were inhabiting. The subtle sounds of movement or environment were enough to fill moments that lacked dialog and when conversations were happening, there was nothing to interfere with the powerful emotions behind each word. From beginning to end, this was very well executed.

The character of Hafsia, played brilliantly by Hafsia Herzi, is an absolute revelation as the type of human being who we rarely get to see on screen. At first glance she embodies everything you might see in a Muslim stereotype yet she is so authentically human that the rest of the world and the people around her instantly become artificial and self serving simply because they are in her presence. I imagine taking on this role meant a lot to the actress as her character is filled with an energy and a determination that forces you to pay attention and is only matched by the dialog that was written for the character.

This Teacher is an entertaining, emotionally powerful movie that will make you look at the world we live in just a little bit differently. Thanks in part to a stellar performance from Hafsia Herzi, I would say this is a must see film and a standout among movies currently in the film festival circuit.

This Teacher is an official selection of 2019 Slamdance Film Festival. coverage of the 2019 Slamdance Film Festival.

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