Bulgaria is hardly known for having a strong film making tradition. Despite having its golden age in the 1970s and 1980s most people in the West will struggle to name one film that the country has produced. Whilst Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov’s film The Lesson is unlikely to change this situation it’s certainly a sign that there may be much more to come from Bulgarian cinema.
Nade (Margita Gosheva) is a hard-working elementary school teacher who is struggling to make ends meet. She’s devoted to her daughter but her drunken husband (Ivan Barnev) is more of a hindrance than a help. When she discovers that there’s a petty thief in her English class Nade is determined to teach them a lesson in morality. Meanwhile, whilst the culprit refuses to come forward, she finds herself resorting to increasingly desperate measures to save her house.
The Lesson is a tense drama featuring a superb central performance from Margita Gosheva. Whilst Nade is determined to set a good example and teach the class a valuable lesson in life, she’s brought low by the circumstances she finds herself in. Every time she thinks she’s resolved the problem something unexpected happens to make matters worse. It’s her steely determination to never give-up which shines through.
The Lesson is out in cinemas on Friday.