Mexico’s El Estudiante is next week’s Classic Tuesdays film at the National Gallery, Castellani House.
According to a press release, El Estudiante, which was co-written by director Roberto Girault, tells the story of Chano, a 70-year-old retired man (played by veteran Mexican film and television actor Jorge Lavat), who pursues his long held dream of going to university to study literature.
Supported with affection and some scepticism by his children and the warm devotion of his wife Alicia (Norma Lazareno), Chano is more than an oddity and amusement at college where his fellow students politely tolerate him.
They soon realise however that they have important lessons to learn from ‘el viejo’ (the old man) and that the generation gap may not be as wide as they think, particularly when romance, drama and tragedy in their lives force them to change their expectations of themselves and others.
A particular thread in the story is Chano’s identification with classical Spanish literature’s character Don Quixote, and the students’ rehearsal of a presentation of this work with some difficulty, from which once again they must learn from the older generation.
The film is set in the colonial city of Guanajuato in central Mexico, a World Heritage site of coloured sandstone architecture and winding streets, and in the buildings of the city’s university. Mexican Film Critics in 2010 awarded several prizes to this film, including Best Actor to Jorge Lavat, and Best Film and Best Director to Girault. The film has been shown at several film festivals including the Chicago Latino Film Festival and Grand Rapids, Michigan’s Latino Film Festival.
The film is 1 hour and 35 minutes long. The public is cordially invited to attend this event, to which admission is free.