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Summary

Set against the backdrop of Argentina’s military regime of the 1980s, Diego Lerman’s engrossing and beautifully acted exploration of the totalitarian urge opens with a portrait of María Teresa, a lonely and deeply repressed assistant teacher at an elite Buenos Aires private school. Obedient and willing, she accepts unquestioningly the school’s rigid code of conduct and proud identification with the nation state. But her head professor’s words about the “cancer of subversion” and need for total surveillance soon feed an unhealthy obsession with one of her students, leading to an ensuing spiral of degradation and breakdown in discipline that parallels a popular rebellion beyond the school’s ivy-covered walls.

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