The First Teacher

The First Teacher spares no illusions in showing the hardships and hostility encountered by a naive young cadre trying to break reactionary family and caste patterns in a rural Asian locale where he is sent to teach shortly after the Revolution. Although he himself is not well educated, his strength is his belief in the new order. Andrei Konchalovsky's first feature, The First Teacher was produced by the Kirghiz film studio in Central Asia, where the noted author Chinghiz Aitmatov supervised the film adaptations of his short stories and novels (see also Larissa Shepitko's Heat, October 8), and encouraged young directors to work in a climate free of heavy studio overhead and administrative interference. Noted French critic Michel Ciment wrote, “Konchalovsky conveyed in lyrical terms the contradictions of his story. . . . The conflict of the old and the new and also the ones between Asia and Europe, the beauty of tradition and the need for change, were expressed with a deft simplicity of style and a rare quality of emotion.”

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