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After Lucia

Director:  Michel Franco
Year Released:  2012
Rating:  2.0

A chef and his daughter (Tessa Ia) relocate following the death of her mother - the daughter immediately fits in with her new classmates, but after an incident in which she has sex with a boy (those horny Mexicans!) in the bathroom which was recorded on his phone and distributed to the school, she becomes the object of ridicule and degradation by her peers. The set-up is vaguely similar to Bergman's The Virgin Spring, although Franco isn't even in the same universe as Bergman in terms of engaging both the intellect and the heart in the audience: he merely shows her getting consistently humiliated and abused and encourages the viewer to provide the indignation - it sets you up and then waits for your applause/relief when her father steps in and enacts his form of revenge (dumping the one kid in the ocean). Without getting into 'blaming the victim,' Ia's character's behavior isn't exactly the swiftest - she seems primed to making bad decisions - and her refusal to alert either her father or the school authorities about the incident - and even lying - comes across as foolish (and it almost feels like the school officials are too dumb to find out the truth of the matter), plus her fake suicide attempt at the end (and leaving town without telling anyone) leaves things in a state of total limbo (I can only assume both her and her father are doomed in the long run). This speaks less to the nature of school bullying than about Franco's experience watching other, better films (and even television shows, like Freaks and Geeks) that have already covered this very subject.

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