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The Student

Lyudmila Stukalina (Svetlana Bragarnik) is the headmistress of a high school in Kaliningrad Oblast on the Baltic Sea, where staff are struggling to make sense of their religious education curriculum when a bill passed by Vladimir Putin allows pupils and their parents to choose between six doctrines. Teenager Veniamin (Pyotr Skvortsov) has opted to seek his spiritual guidance from The Bible and he devours each page in his bedroom, spouting scripture to his mother Inga (Yuliya Aug) to justify his views on gender equality and homosexuality. Veniamin openly challenges the teachers at school and publicly clashes with atheist biology teacher Elena (Viktoriya Isakova) when she promotes evolutionary theory in one of her lessons. The young man's defiance and rabble-rousing pits the teacher against her student, and the ideological divide widens as politically correct staff choose to support Veniamin. His religious fervour intensifies, leading to a school-wide ban of two-piece bathing suits for the girls. Senseless violence inside and out of the classroom compels the headmistress to take drastic action.