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Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Edukators More at IMDbPro »Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei (original title)

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Will remind you of your rebellious and naive youth.. A joy of a movie...

Author: Joe from United Kingdom
5 September 2005

This film surrounds the ongoing adventures of three young angst-driven anarchists who wish to frighten the wealthy in their very homes. The trio end up getting themselves into serious trouble when they end up having to kidnap one of their victims out of fear, with their kidnapper revealing that he is not all what he at first had seemed. Adventures surround examinations of their ideals as well as love, friendship and jealousy pushing their way into the story along the way.

Film will recall a time for those out there who have had a more rebellious past, but it is never heavy handed even when they trio are in full debate with their victim. Great acting and a well-balanced story make this easily one of the gem movies of the year. I highly recommend it.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Slow start

Author: Mattias Petersson from Stockholm, Sweden
28 February 2005

Having recently seen (and appreciated) Goodbye Lenin, as well as other well-made recent German films, i was quite excited about this movie. Especially after hearing mostly great things about it.

Jan and Peter are two activists making their anarchist statement by breaking into rich peoples houses. When they have broken in they rearrange the furniture and leave a note saying mostly either "The fat years are over" (which is also the translation of the movies title) or "You have too much money". One day Peters girlfriend comes along, and something goes completely wrong.

"Die fetten jahre sind vorbei" had serious trouble taking off in my opinion. The first hour provides a few laughs and some character development, but in general it's very slow. The movie comes more into it's own in the second half though as the story starts to pick up the pace. When it does take off the movie becomes more entertaining, and it's all topped off with an ending i really enjoyed. However, it's always a problem when it takes almost one hour for me to start enjoying the movie.

The strongest point in the movie is the actors. All the major parts are played by very competent actors. And still i'm wondering how long it will take before Daniel Brühl sets out to conquer Hollywood, because he has great talent. The weakest point is the slow beginning like i discussed above. And also the somewhat preachy tone the movie has at times, something not uncommon with movies that deal with political views (even if it never comes close to propaganda).

All in all this is enjoyable. But with a stronger beginning it could have been even more so. I rate it 6/10.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

zu viel Geld!

Author: Karen (morgause100) from São Paulo, Brazil
6 April 2006

Absolutely perfect! Everything in the movie was just much better than i could ever expect. Very interesting subject and a very surprising ending. One of the best performances of Daniel Brühl (Jan), though he was also very good on "Goodbye Lenin" and "Ladies in Lavender (2004)". It was the first time i saw Julia Jentsch (Jule) on a movie and i really liked it. Her last movie "Sophie Scholl", nominated to the Oscar, was also very good.

The movie really makes people think more about the future, money and politics with no strong appeal. Two friends, Jan and Peter, break into rich family's houses to scare people that have too much money. The story gets stronger after Peter's girlfriend, Jule, hits a rich man's car and has a debt of almost 100.000€ and starts to take part in those activities. Watch it! It's worth it!

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Best movie I've seen this summer; too bad about the old-fashioned sexism.

Author: lucke-1 from Canada
6 August 2005

There's something so wonderfully, functionally elegant about the capacity of the German language to absorb suffixes. The title of today's post is one of these engineered compound words: erziehungs (education); berechtigten (entitled). "Entitled to educate" is a clumsy translation--"those who claim the moral authority to educate." is much closer.

In Hans Weingartner's 2004 film Die Fetten Jahre sind vorbei, "die erziehungsberechtigten" is the name claimed by a small group of revolutionary pranksters.

As an interesting aside, the German title translates to "your days of plenty are numbered," a significant phrase within the script's context. Appropriate title. On the other hand, the English title ("The Edukators") is a clumsy, lily-livered, watered-down translation of the name the group actually claims for themselves (see above translation). Just so we're all on the same page.

Without a doubt the best movie I've seen this summer, this is one of those wonderfully functional gestalts, a curious Tinkertoy romantic coming-of-age revolutionary heist story. Too bad about the old-fashioned sexism.

The script is spare, but the rhythm of the language is crisp and evocative. While far from fluent, I could pick up on enough of the original German dialogue to notice that the subtitles were sometimes ill-fitting and awkward. It's a testament to the writer that most of the wit, playfulness and layered pathos manages to come through the pale white lettering splayed across the bottom of the screen. Some reviewers have referred to a didactic tone, but I didn't feel that at all. Anyone who's ever hung out with (or identified as) a completely earnest twenty-something revolutionary will recognize the affectations of these kids as not only plausible, but completely faithful to the archetype. Some people might find this irritating anyway, but I didn't; perhaps that's a personal conceit. The film does not lecture, though the characters (occasionally) do. The difference is crucial and illustrates some the movie's power and charm.

Shot as cinema vérité and avoiding long shots, the movie maintains an intimate feel throughout, even during a sequence set in the great outdoors amidst the Alps. The characters' youth is cast on a fulcrum, teeter-tottering between exultant power and fragility.

Daniel Brühl (Jan), Julia Jentsch (Jule), Stipe Erceg (Peter) and Burghart Klaußner (Herr Hardenberg) forged a dynamic ensemble and completely absorbed me into their world. The characters, drawn as archetypes, came alive at the deft touch of these actors. Whether it's the bonds of friendship that wax and wane throughout the movie, the politically-charged rants delivered from the heights of bridges, the scheming of the terrorized or the latent homo-eroticism brewing between the two male leads, the cast delivers nuanced, multi-layered performances.

If I have one complaint about this film, it's on the last point: the sub-dermal attraction between Jan and Peter is never really addressed in a satisfactory way, though it's hard to ignore the (barely-sub)text to their interactions. Free in so many other ways, these kids never question the artificiality of heterosexuality.

Actually, I have two complaints and here's the second: Jule, the female character. Although Jentsch does an amazing job with the character, she's essentially a plot device who reacts to events instead of acting; she only acts as a causative agent incidentally. In other words, her presence causes things to happen, but she does not. Am I making sense? Hope so.

It's a damned shame and what will keep me from giving this movie a perfect "10" on IMDb. It actually sucks even worse 'cause these characters are positioned as true idealists with the power, ability and will to buck The System(tm). Although Jule is written as adventurous, clever, funny, committed and daring, she's still denied true agency: decisions are made around and about her, but never by her.

Maybe I should give credit to the director for accurately demonstrating how sexism pervades the left, but my instinct is to deny him that kudo. My instinct is that he didn't think twice about chauvinism; it just didn't occur to him at all.

Like I said, a damned shame.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Toy Revolution

Author: orgfrorg
29 December 2007

It's sad... we're such good Marxists that when a movie sets out to explore the class struggle we are there to support. Unlike other films seeking to convey a sense of the sharp edges of the Capital's governance of our lives, this second feature for three-in-one director/writer/producer Hans Weingartner promises an outright clash between our. Weingartner takes an ambitious mission - to portray the rise and decay of a revolution by following the smallest revolutionary cell, two guys with good ideas and a girl to inspire their youth hormones. Their micro-encounter with hyper-capitalism turns out, though, to be too flat to satisfy. Well-acted dialogues amount to platitudes, and too many turns, even one sharp curve, do not catch us by surprise. Slowly we understand that as much recruited an audience we are, we want our art a little less committed, less naive, than the we were.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

My thesis of the Movie

Author: ben-j-rhodes
18 November 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I thought it portrays some what the evolution of a revolution. It was a good movie,thought provoking, and just something refreshing. the sound track for the film was chosen perfectly; the Jeff Buckley tune was moving. The film caught the essence of what it is to start a revolution.On the down side it did get a little slow in the middle but at the end everything tied up with a truly touching conclusion. I took a chance with this film not knowing what to expect and the subtitles throw me off too, but I came away satisfied by the end result. More big time Hollywood directors should take a lesson in these indie movie's, thats where the innovation starts.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

I feel...educated

Author: NiteAnjel from Dallas, TX
11 May 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

By day, Jan (Daniel Brühl) and Peter (Stipe Erceg) are anti-globalization activists protesting on the streets where they live. By night, they are The Edukators. Their mission: to boldly mess with the heads of Germany's high society types by breaking into their villas, rearranging the furniture and leaving vaguely threatening notes such as "YOUR DAYS OF PLENTY ARE NUMBERED". It's a strictly non-violent, politically motivated operation and nothing is ever stolen. Well, that's not entirely true.

But one of their operations turns into a potential disaster when Peter's girlfriend Jule (Julia Jentsch) gets involved. When things go wrong when harassing a millionaire businessman, Hardenberg, Jules owes money to, the trio resort to kidnap, tossing their terrified victim (played by Burghard Klaussner) into a van and driving him to a remote Alpine cabin owned by Jules's uncle.

With Peter and Jan battling over Jules's affections and Hardenberg manipulating the emotional situation between them all, it seems that the stage is being set for some kind of unpleasantness, but The Edukators doesn't pan out that way. Instead, the team learns a thing or two about life from their manipulative prisoner – himself a former radical – as the film edges its way to toward an unexpectedly upbeat ending.

Shot on digital video, The Edukators has a rough and ready feel but writer/director Hans Weingartner maintains a tight rein on the action and draws out some fine performances, especially from Brühl. That said, it's a little long-winded at 127 minutes and the reliance on repeat plays of Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah to underscore the emotional climax of the film strikes a sour note in a film that's generally handled with a very light touch.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

check it......WORD

Author: acquiescing9 from United States
19 February 2007

With philosophical messages threaded through the script and a perfect mix of romance and solidarity, The Edukators brings to light all the glory that is youth.

Jan Jule and Peter end up getting themselves into one hell of a situation, but try, even with their lacking overall experience, to figure a way out of it all the while enduring through hardships and drama that comes with being a young adult. And helping them understand things on there way is their kidnapped bigshot, who ends up being a better person than they think at first.

This movie will force itself into your soul and bring out all of your emotions.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Absolutely Worth Watching!

Author: axn_chixtah from Sydney, Australia
11 July 2006

I only just watched this movie last night at around 11pm, but it was well worth the late night. I was absolutely blown away by this film! The different themes present in this movie makes it more interesting. The one scene I was most impressed with was the final scene where it looked like Hardenberg had betrayed the Edukators. I'm still not quite sure whether or not it was intentional or for the sake of teaching a lesson to the world, but nonetheless, I was impressed by the way the movie ended. Might I add, Daniel Bruhl is absolutely amazing! I instantly fell in love with his acting in the first few scenes. The way he portrays emotions is so beautiful and feels so real. I also give credit to Julia Jentsch & Stipe Erceg. All three are fantastic! One of the best films I've seen. I could just watch it over and over again and never get sick of it. On a little note, the title of "The Edukators" is quite catchy,as well. Perfect for this film.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A bit too self-important, and sucks up to liberals, but entertaining nonetheless

Author: Adam Whyte ( from Scotland
18 March 2005

"The Edukators," a witty, entertaining but ultimately immature new German movie, is about a trio of rebellious young leftists who break into the houses of wealthy families, re-arrange their furniture (they don't steal anything) and leave them messages such as 'Your days of plenty are numbered.' They're the type of people who sit around, get high, romanticise Ché Guevara and despair at the state of society.

The B&E thing goes fine until one day the owner of the house they are in returns while they are still in it (there is a wonderful moment of suspense just before he enters). They knock him out and realise that they are going to have to kidnap him, so they take him up to an unused house in the countryside. The movie is about, among other things, the relationship between the young Marxists and the 'capitalist pig.' He seems like a pretty nice guy.

The trio are named Jan, Jule and Peter, and they are played, respectively, by Daniel Brühl, Julia Jentsch and Stipe Erceg. Daniel Brühl is the handsome, talented young actor who was last seen in "Ladies in Lavender" and "Goodbye Lenin!" and he has the potential to become a significant performer. Jule and Peter are girl and boyfriend, but we are unsurprised to learn that Jan has a crush on Jule too.

One of the delights of the movie is the realisation that the kidnapped businessman, Hardenberg, is actually sort of enjoying hanging around with his young kidnappers; they remind him of his youth. At one point he tells Jan, 'My dad used to say that if you're under 30 and you're not a liberal, you have no heart, and if you're over 30 and you're still a liberal, you have no brain.' Earlier, Jan – and the audience – does a double-take when he mentions how he is reminded of his days 'in the commune.'

It is rare for a movie to be so blatantly political these days, and yet this is the area of the movie which gives me most pause. The fact is, most people who go to see foreign-language films in this country are left-oriented educated liberals, and this movie really sucks up to them. Reading the user comments on IMDb, it seemed that people either loved the movie or hated it; in other words, liberals loved it, conservatives hated it (the former found it inspiring, the latter found it to be, in one reviewer's words, 'socialist crap'). I don't think you should decide the quality of a movie based on its politics, but this is what people are doing with this movie; it insults the right-wingers, and gives the leftists a pat on the back. But does it tell us anything new?

Another quibble, however minor: sometimes movies use music on the soundtrack to make us feel particular ways when the material doesn't work as effectively as it wants to. Towards the end of "The Edukators," we are supposed to feel sad and contemplative, so the movie sticks on Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah." If it had been a lesser song, it might have worked, but – and I know this is entirely subjective, but so is film criticism – that's one of my favourite songs, and the movie doesn't really earn it, if you see what I mean. It's such a good song that the music belittles the pictures; I almost wanted to close my eyes so the images didn't get in the way. When something is merely good, it is not advisable for it to remind you of something that is great.

While the movie has the guts to be political, it doesn't have the guts to risk giving its characters flaws; yes, they fall out a couple of times, but there ought to have been more of them realising that they were out of their depth when they kidnapped Hardenberg. When the ending unfolds as it does, the movie subtly suggests that they can be excused for what they did. The politics and the love-triangle in the movie reminded me of Bernardo Bertolucci's "The Dreamers," one of the best movies of last year. But the characters in "The Dreamers" have flaws and dimensions, and the movie doesn't suggest that everything that they are doing is right, nor does it have such an obvious political agenda.

"The Edukators" is, however, worth seeing for the performances (especially of Brühl) and the humour. It's practically a love-letter to all those teenagers who love to call anyone in a position of authority a 'fascist.' Funny, how I more or less agree with its politics, but not the way it presents them. 'Our ideals live on,' says Jule. This is one of the most entertaining propaganda films I've seen.

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