THE SUBSTITUTE (2023)
Drama, Thriller | Language: Spanish | Subtitles: English
This dramatic thriller, which had its world premiere at the 47th Toronto International Film Festival in the Special Presentations section, won the Silver Seashell for Best Supporting Performance (by Renata Lerman) at the 70th San Sebastian International Film Festival, where it was also nominated for a Golden Seashell for Best Film. It was also nominated for a Gold Hugo for Best Feature at the Chicago International Film Festival.
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The Substitute tells the story of Lucio (Juan Minujín), recently appointed as a substitute literature teacher at a high school in an underserved area of Buenos Aires. Lucio has to hit the ground running if he wants to find a way to connect with the minds - and the realities - of a cohort of students with far tougher things than homework to worry about.
Lucio also has big shoes to fill: those of his ailing father, known as “El Chileno” (Alfredo Castro), a well-loved community organiser who is about to open a soup kitchen, years in the making, but is constantly being threatened by a local gang as they seek total control of the area through drugs and corrupt politics. When one of his students lands in trouble with the local kingpin, Lucio has to step out from his teaching duties to protect both the teenager and the fragile bond he’s forging with his pupils.
AWARDS & NOMINATIONS
Chicago International Film Festival 2022 - Nominee - Gold Hugo for Best Film
Havana Film Festival New York 2022 - Winner - Best Director (Diego Lerman)
San Sebastián International Film Festival 2022
Winner - Silver Seashell for Best Supporting Performance (Renata Lerman)
Nominee - Golden Seashell for Best Film
CAST & CREW
Cast - Juan Minujín Alfredo Castro Bárbara Lennie
Director - Diego Lerman
Screenplay - Diego Lerman (story by), María Meira, Luciana De Mello
Cinematographer - Wojciech Staron
Producers - Nicolás Avruj, Nicolás Celis, Ibon Cormenzana, Jonás Cuarón, Marta Donzelli, Ignasi Estapé, Diego Lerman, Giorgina Mesiano, Gregorio Paonessa, Andreas Roald, Sandra Tapia, Dan Wechsler, Jamal Zeinal Zade
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
One of Argentina’s leading filmmakers, Diego Lerman won the Silver Leopard Award at the Locarno International Film Festival for Suddenly (Tan de repente) in 2002. He also directed A Sort of Family which played at Toronto, won Best Screenplay at San Sebastian and was acquired by Netflix; as well as Refugiado and Invisible which played at Cannes’ Director’s fortnight in 2014 and 2010, respectively. The Substitute marks his sixth feature.