For his “The Student,” Serebrennikov has adapted Marius von Mayenburg’s controversial play “Martyr” (which has been making the rounds between Europe and the U.S. since its debut back in 2012) to tell the story of Veniamin (Pyotr Skvortsov), a disillusioned teen who falls prey to one hell of an unexpected vice: The Bible. While the rest of his classmates dabble in more standard teenage fare like booze and drugs and sex, Veniamin undergoes a spiritual crisis that pushes him to adopt a very strict stance on the world, as dictated by scripture.
His new faith doesn’t just impact Veniamin, but the rest of the world around him, as he uses “Bible scripture to question school pedagogy about sex and sexuality, evolution, single parents, girls wearing bikinis in swimming practice and even the contemporary religious stance of the school’s priest.” Soon enough, his school, family and social circle are turned totally upside down, struggling to repress Veniamin’s beliefs and how they impact the ways in which they should lead their own lives.
In our first look at the feature, embedded above, Veniamin’s beliefs and his regular ol’ teen desires come to a surprising head during what should be a mostly normal day of swim practice. Check it out above.
“The Student” will make its debut in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section later this month.