At a convention, several teenage girls lined up in the middle of the choir class. The nun instructed some of them to practice lip syncing. One of them is our protagonist, Celia (Andrea Fandos). Some time later, the choir team appeared on stage, singing well as ordered. Except Celia. He did something that would probably irritate his sister.
The two moments above are the opening and closing scenes of Schoolgirls, the winner of five categories at the 2021 Goya Awards including Best Film. Two moments that represent the core of the film’s story, namely about the process of a teenager finding the courage to reject falsehood, then allowing himself to shine as he is. Best Movie Site
Celia is 11 years old. The time when curiosity about many things began to grow. But Celia is forced to suppress it in order to become an outstanding student, as well as an obedient daughter to her mother, Adela (Natalia de Molina). Until the arrival of a new student named Brisa (Zoe Arnao), as well as his acquaintance with several seniors, brought Celia into a new world.
“Shush” is one of the most frequently heard words in this film. Schoolgirls are full of “silent” activities. The few students made a sound, the sisters immediately silenced them. When Celia asked, “How do you know if God exists?”, her mother replied “Just because”. Similar answers were given to other questions. No explanation, no dialogue. Celia, and the other teens, are forced to obey, without being given a chance to understand why.
What happens when rejection occurs? Apparently still the same. Celia once went to a nightclub with her friends. He didn’t do anything. He didn’t drink alcohol, even though he politely refused when a man approached him. On the way home, Celia rides a motorbike with her best friend’s cousin, Cristina (Julia Sierra), who happens to be an older man. But again, nothing happened. Unfortunately, one of the sisters witnessed it, then reported to Adela. The next day, Adela silenced Celia, while in class, the nurse told Celia to do the questions in front of the class. Not so that he understands, but only to scold.
Pilar Palomero as director and scriptwriter (winning Goya Awards in the Best New Director and Best Original Screenplay categories), criticized youth education, which is more restrictive and restrictive than explaining. One of them is about sexuality. How to safely have sex? What is a condom? These important questions are not even taught, either in the official education system, or at home by parents.
In class, the nurse just dictates a boring sex “lesson”, which the students may already know about through magazines (the setting is 1992, so there’s no internet yet) containing far more interesting articles. We also hear several times on television discussing the pros and cons of condom education, which by some parties, is considered to be damaging to the morale of teenagers because it encourages free sex. Movie Review
Without embracing education, teenagers finally take the initiative to search, once they find the door that opens the experiment room. Brisa became a door for Celia, although over time, Brisa’s role became less significant, because from the script there was an impression that Celia was able to “open her eyes” on her own, without the need for new friends from the city to shake her comfort zone.
Palomero uses a ratio of 1.37: 11, maybe so that the audience can feel the feeling of being confined like his character. That artistic choice also helps convey the acting. Andrea Fandos, in his big screen debut, proved he was a rising star. Her smile had the purity of an innocent child, as well as an expression of shyness due to doubt. “I like this, but is this allowed?”, maybe he said to himself. Fandos’ strongest moment is each time Celia stands still, staring intently at her interlocutor, embarrassed by all the restraints, while suppressing the anger that can overflow at any time. Unfortunately, the Goya Awards rules require nominees to be at least 16 years old, so he doesn’t receive a nomination (Fandos is only 12 years old). Natalia de Molina is no less capable, showing the guilt of a mother who struggles to keep her life from falling apart.
Even though they are still stuck in the formula of “adolescents looking for identity in a conservative environment by breaking the norm”, it does not reduce the power of Schoolgirls’ narrative, which remains relevant, stirs emotions, while maintaining a tone that is not too dark. After all, this is a presentation about the “trial and error” action of teenagers, which is certainly interesting. There was annoyance and tears, as well as smiles and laughter. Top Movie