Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Invisible Eye (2010) 3 of 4

Beautiful Teachers, Sexual Misconduct, Part 2

There's something fascinating about a beautiful woman who can't get laid.  It seems absurd: she could throw a rock and find someone.  Then again, life always seems so much easier when it's happening to someone else.
The Invisible Eye  is a Spanish-language film set in 1980s Argentina, at a large boy's school, a drab and regimented place that is nevertheless simmering with human energy.  It's more of an art-house film than A Teacher (previous post), although both of them foreground human psychology over plot.

As the repressed teacher Miss Cornejo, Julieta Zylberberg carries the film, especially since we never find out what experiences may have caused this young beauty to excel at her career and yet be unable to bend in social situations (of course, it can't help that she sleeps in the same bed as her mother).  Zylberberg uses body language to create a hung-up woman, someone who rarely commits to being where she is, who she is.  Some part of her is faraway.

** spoilers ahead **

The lack of explanations only enhances our sense of compassion; we root for her to figure it out.  Miss Cornejo is not asexual, in fact she dares bizarre behavior for kicks: she hides out in the boy's room, ostensibly to catch smokers, and eventually masturbates while squatting in a stall.
Her sexual frustration is so palpable that several people in her life comment.  The school principal, who seems a good man, ultimately rapes her in the boy's room.  She punishes him.
And so this character study ends with a provocative ethical situation; I was impressed by this film's willingness to portray an assault that has two sides to it: it is a rape, but at the same time most viewers will sympathize with both victim and perpetrator, given the bizarre circumstances.

** end spoilers ** 

The film also draws parallels between the personal story and Argentina's political troubles, with both of these tensions breaking at the same time.  I don't know much about Argentina, but this aspect is not central to the film.  It works fine as psychological drama.     

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