By Sergio C. Muñoz
Ever since the international debut of the Argentinean film El Estudiante / The Student at the Locarno Film Festival back in the summer of 2011, its director Santiago Mitre has been compared to American screenwriter and producer Aaron Sorkin, creator of hit shows and films such as The West Wing, The Social Network and The Newsroom. [Click here to read Eric Kohn's review indieWIRE: "The Student" Announces Santiago Mitre as a South American Aaron Sorkin].
Coinciding with the one-week run of the Argentinean film at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City (August 22 – 28), TropicalFRONT's collaborator Sergio Muñoz compares El Estudiante and The Newsroom here.
El Estudiante is set in Argentina and it features a cast of young students who are engaging in political protest to take back control of the University of Buenos Aires. The Newsroom is set in New York City and it features a cast of young "journalists" who are engaging in political protest to take back control of the newsroom in America.
Five similarities between El Estudiante and The Newsroom:
1. Sam Waterston plays the wise executive producer who has known and seen it all in The Newsroom. He attempts to control the egos of the old hands played by Jeff Daniels and Jane Fonda while at the same time nurturing the young ones like Emily Mortimer and Olivia Munn. Ricardo Felix plays the wise politician who has known and seen it all in El Estudiante. He attempts to control the maneuvers of the old guard off-camera while at the same time corralling the energy of the new guard on-camera.
2. Emily Mortimer as MacKenzie plays a strong female lead with the intellectual capacity to lead The Newsroom. Romina Paula as Paula plays a strong female lead with the intellectual capacity to lead both the student movement and the protagonist in El Estudiante.
3. Thomas Sadoski, in the role of Don Keefer in The Newsroom, manages to woo co-workers at an alarming rate using no charm whatsoever. Esteban Lamothe, in the role of Roque Espinoza in El Estudiante, manages to woo co-workers at an alarming rate using no charm whatsoever.
4. All of the characters in both the The Newsroom and El Estudiante speak like they are both attempting to race and kill each other with their intellectual arguments.
5. The subject matter: They both tie together an entertaining education in politics and civics that repel enormous portions of the voting population but attract tiny important populations of the established one percent and those striving to be in the one percent. This phenomenon is most clear in Washington, DC, where the one percent politicians are treated in the same celebrity way that the one percent Hollywood actors are treated in Los Angeles. The universe seems to revolve around these characters because capital seems to revolve around these characters and thus power revolves around these characters.
El Estudiante focuses on local power with the politics enveloping a university system. On The Newsroom, the focus goes wherever imperial America decides to go; Egypt; Syria; Uganda; etc... But the biggest difference between The Newsroom and El Estudiante is the most complicated: If Santiago Mitre had the resources available to Aaron Sorkin, the Argentinean film would both be more developed and in-turn capable of attracting a larger audience. But it seems the more these projects get developed, the more they lose their street credibility which is the strength of El Estudiante and the weakness of The Newsroom.
Watch the trailer of El Estudiante:
Watch a clip of The Newsroom: