“The real sanctions are often the responsibilities we inflict to ourselves”
Although the main plot is about a conflict between a teacher and a student, which is not a rare thing in daily school life, “A Punishment” implies something more. This is a symbolic message about one’s fight against the system – a system, which insists on studying so hard, it almost becomes dangerous and often ends with a result that is complete opposite than the one expected. Director uses psychological violence in relationships between the characters, to show, how an obsessive strive to success leads to nowhere. Especially, if the main initiator for this strive is a teacher.
Teachers are often mistakenly rated as equal as parents for a student, and they often unconsciously overtake their rights and advantage on control over the teen. And it is not for nothing, that the protagonists in this film are chosen like that – the teacher also carries a role of a parent for her own offspring in the same time. With this paradox, director Cyril Roc leads a spectator to the border where teachers are overdoing their job and jumps over it, to see what happens when they jump over their rights and responsibilities as a parent as well.
“A Punishment” is a demonstrative message about gaps in the bridge between generations and lack of compromise. As said by director himself, this is a film about a boy, who “can avenge his mother in order to overthrow the oedipal cliche”. And, in the end of a day, this is a story about gaps in the relationships between family members in the first place.
A very laconic, clearly visible message with carefully chosen theatrical dimension in the best minimalism traditions. One well irritating punishment for a spectator himself and an hour of revelation from everyone who has ever felt a disappointment against the education system at all.
author: Laima Dūda