Counter-Review of Diego Lerer’s Take on Facultades (Grad Schools), Solaas’ Film
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Eloísa Solaas
Argentina 2019
77 min

From inside Argentina, Argentine film critic Diego Lerer said:

Final examinations at universities are filled with subtle moments of tension and complex power games. In Argentina’s public universities, where such exams are usually oral and students have to face the probing eyes of their oft-harsh professors, they tend to be a nerve-wracking experience. In her first feature documentary, Solaas observes – herself a serious student of the “fly on the wall”-style of such masters as Frederick Wiseman – the intimacy of these tense exchanges, which are usually protected from public view. She wisely chooses only public universities and very different subjects, moving back and forth between a dozen examinations. Each one is a completely separate story – the film student not being able to remember much about Eisenstein’s BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN, the convicted felon trying to rebuild his life, the complex structure of a legal presentation and more. Then, Lerer concludes that the film itself builds towards a more common and universal theme which is the desire to learn in spite of everything, the idea of the mind as a muscle to be trained and, finally, a powerful celebration of intelligence and work, two things rarely explored with such detail in cinema.

Solaas, a person that apart from the obvious professional skills is a performative intellectual does much more than the humanist, almost Kantian, claim of universality that Lerer and every porteño of that white educated class considers as a distinctive quality. Where he sees hope I see productive hopelessness. They all know it is pointless but they do it anyway. The future has been wiped out but like automatons they chose to believe. I think that Solaas decision to present a mosaic of very different and at the same time similar stories ends up in a pond of sameness. There is a texture of boredom but not of the film which is not but of the subjects.


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