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Anna Fyodorovna Belova,
Mikhail Fyodorovich Belov,
Vasiliy Fyodorovich Belov
This comedy drama is a fascinating reflection of its time - its changing values and attitudes, how society reacted to it, how different individuals managed to adapt. The genre description "comedy drama" is not entirely accurate, but it's the closest I could think of. There is no drama/comedy plot in the usual sense. We follow a class of students in their last year at school (6th form is the nearest UK equivalent), their lessons, their protests, their private life. There are a few occasions when the film drifts from realism beyond wackiness into surrealism, and surprisingly Margot Trooger is one of the director's favourite vehicles for that.
The end product lacks some coherence, but it is full of strong and telling moments. The way Dr Nemitz elegantly rebuffs a classroom revolt, the English teacher discovered as a lightweight, Rowedder parking his jeep (complete with communist flag) directly in front of a no-stopping sign - these are just a few of many memorable scenes.
I think of the film with considerable personal fondness: it was filmed at (and in) Altes Gymnasium Bremen, the very school I went to three years after this film was made. The style of the lessons portrayed in the film so accurately reflected the particular (and admittedly somewhat peculiar) style prevalent at this school that Zadek either must have watched real classes at the AG beforehand or used teachers and students from this school as advisors, if not both. There is evidence for the latter: I can assert that the dispute which students are allowed to go to the baker's shop (and when) was still going on for years to come.
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