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Don't let anyone tell you horror stories about the camera work, they
probably never had an ounce of imagination anywhere in their bodies!
For those of us who are bored blind with standard Hollywood-ian movies, this kind of camera work is very refreshing. The constant motion puts us right into the characters' world and helps foster an instant connection with them. Not that one wouldn't connect with them without the fancy directing! On the contrary, Jan, Jule, and Peter will reawaken the idealist in anyone.
The movie is essentially about three friends with seemingly no particular direction in life other than petty political activism now and then. But Peter and Jan have found a very clever way of subverting the socio-economic system they so despise. Calling themselves "the Edukators", they break into the homes of the fabulously wealthy only to make some absurd adjustments to the arrangement of their furniture and leave a simple note behind: "You have too much money."
With this basic plot, The Edukators delves into that ill-defined human notion of morality, eventually blurring the line between the ethics of social politics and the ethics of personal relationships.
Don't let the plot scare you, you don't have to be an anarchist to enjoy this movie! It's well-written, beautifully shot, and flawlessly performed. Some of the drawbacks are that it gets a little long and preachy at the end (which happens fairly often to new directors), but let's not nitpick. I'm willing to gloss over the film's (rare) faults because, in the end, there is far too much to take home from this movie. It's a real shame that some would wish to dismiss it as some crackpot anarchist film.
I have to issue a few words of warning first:
Don't see this movie after you have just enjoyed a really good Hollywood-production (as I did). Because if you do you may at first be put off a little bit by the quality of this digital productions that does not quite come up to 35mm-standards.
You will notice this for about 10 seconds.
Two hours later however you won't quite understand anymore what exactly it was you liked so much about this great Hollywood-movie that suddenly seems to be so shallow, so void of real issues and characters ...
This is a wonderful, wonderful gem of a movie that won't bore you even for a second and will keep you thinking for days and days.
I don't want to go into the plot here (see for yourself), just that: This is NOT a movie that can be summed up in one statement. It is a film about political activism, love, friendship, ideals in life and how we betray them, the generation if 1968 and what became of them, the dynamics of small groups and, and, and...
To wrap so much relevant issues into a gripping, highly entertaining and even funny story for me is a real miracle in scriptwriting. The dialogues are outstanding.
Of course the main reason this movie works so well is the fantastic cast. All four main characters are absolutely phenomenal and of course Danny Bruehl and Julia Jentsch show again that they are the best German actors of their generation.
This movie touches you emotionally, gives you food for thought and entertains immensely at the same time. For me it is the best movie I have seen this year.
This is what cinema should be like.
the edukators is a hugely enjoyable film that perfectly balances the
human themes of friendship, love and trust with it's more political
the main characters are all performed with warmth and a playfulness that keeps the human side of the story engaging, while the plot develops with continual twists and tension. of course the idealism and activism of the protagonists plays a central roll, but the film never falls to the temptation to preach or bog itself down with weighty polemic.
all in all, the edukators is a breath of fresh air that is both satisfying to the head and the heart. highly recommended.
... but the days of plenty for German Cinema obviously just started!!
I saw this movie at the Cork Film Festival yesterday night. Being originally from Germany and a huge Daniel Bruehl Fan I HAD to watch this movie. Of course I didn't get disappointed: it's such a brilliant movie with such a profound statement. Hans Weingartner seems to be gifted with a unique power of observation: not living in Germany at the moment made me very sensitive for clichéd German behaviour (Scenes like the one in the tram and the restaurant are just so typical!) Great acting by outstandingly talented young actors (can Daniel Bruehl get any better? Obviously he can!), witty dialogues and a surprising ending made this movie pure fun watching every single second! I am very glad that if German movies make it abroad they are such smart movies as this one (or Run Lola Run, Goodbye Lenin,...). I hope to see more and more German movies over here in the future.
The days of plenty just started for the German Cinema!
I went to see the film completely unprepared, and I left the theatre
rather euphoric. I liked the film because of the amiable story, the
roughly-sketched but believable characters (even if we don't learn too
much about their backgrounds) and the funny, witty dialog. And last but
not least the surprise in the end -- until three minutes to the end I
wouldn't have had an idea how to end a story like this.
The four main characters were cast exceptionally well, and the dialog -- whew! Yes, the kidnappers seem very naive (so does the manager, btw, in another way), and the words they use are heavy with cliché, but it's not a message of any kind that's new and interesting. It's what happens beyond words: I've rarely seen people in a movie talk and talk so much about convictions and ideology, but all the really important things happen inside them and without words.
So go and watch this film but don't jump on the political statements. Things might have some more layers here.
This movie has everything to be an excellent movie for young people
(but also enjoyable for older people). There is loads of political
statement made which should make everyone think even if u don't share
the opinion. I mean, how many movies are there which talk about
politics at all? The movie is full of emotions acted pretty well. The
camera which makes u feel to be very close to the scenes and the music
support these emotions successfully.
Even if you are not that kind of anarchist, there are still some scenes which are just so familiar to yourself. It's a movie about youth itself I suppose.
The movie is a must-see
The cast is impressive. Daniel Bruhl once again shows that he can act. The plot attracts your entire attention as you live the experiences of these three kids in Berlin, and their quest to denounce the evils of capitalism. There's romance, jokes, great scenery and good music. At first it seemed to me this movie was the continuation of Good Bye Lenin (probably because of Daniel in Berlin?) Eitherway, It made me want to travel around Europe some more, learn German, and also think about my obsession with shopping and TV. Very inspiring. In a few words, this movie questions our understanding of happiness and success in a very entertaining way.
I went to this film expecting a comedy in the mold of "Sonnenallee" or "Good Bye Lenin", and I wasn't disappointed. The characters became very real to me, even Hardenberg, the kidnapped businessman, who was a bit wooden at the beginning. For me, the best part of the film was watching the relationships build between all 4 of the main characters, both before and after the kidnapping. There is really very little action in the film: it's more about watching the characters develop personally and in their dealings with each other. Lest this sound too dry, I found the film quite humorous at times, exciting and emotionally intense. The conclusion is left open to interpretation--but you'll have to watch the film quite carefully to have the data you need to make your own interpretation! Highly recommended!
Die Fetten Jahre sind vorbei (The Edukators) is the first German film in competition at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival since Wim Wender's In weiter Ferne, so nah! (Faraway, So Close!) in 1993. The film's protagonists, Jan, Peter and Jule, dream of changing society. They form "The Edukators," a group that warns the rich and disturbs their material comfort with non-violent actions. In "the Edukators" Hans Weingartner raises the question: "What happened to the revolutionary generation of the sixties? Where are all the anarchists, hippies and idealists that wanted to change the world? I loved the movie, it is condemning and inspiring at the same time, depressing and uplifting and as a viewer you are forced to decide if you feel sympathy for the idealistic young people or the successful materialistic businessman. Or both?!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A very interesting, psychologically well developed film, that starts
from the rather simple (the whole of the establishment are 'a wunch of
bankers', as the British say) and then becomes more complex. The
problem of social precariousness touches many young people today I
think, though there are probably not so many around who'd also take
'revolutionary action' as the people in the film do.
The development of the Hardenberg character was also very interesting: at first, he is a very rich top manager, also a rather pathetic figure, but then, as he gets in touch with his own idealistic past, he shows much strength and wisdom. The story of the ménage à trois vs. 'free love' also shows that young people then where even more radical than they are now...
The ending left me bewildered though. After seeing the film, both my boyfriend and I interpreted it in he way that Hardenberg has succumbed to the establishment again. But here on IMDb I read some other interpretations, notably that it was him who helped them to get to the Mediterrenean and who gave him his boat and money. The message in the empty apartment, 'Some people never change', also pointed into this direction. But why the attack by the police - especially with anti-terrorist forces - was still necessary then, is quite beyond me. Also, Hardenberg didn't at all look amused or content in the police car - as he obviously would have if he had only wanted to fool the cops.
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