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The Forest for the Trees (2003)

Der Wald vor lauter Bäumen (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 27 January 2005 (Germany)
As an awkward idealistic high school teacher begins her first job in the city, things turn out to be much tougher than she had imagined.


Maren Ade


Maren Ade
6 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Eva Löbau ... Melanie Pröschle
Daniela Holtz ... Tina Schaffner
Jan Neumann Jan Neumann ... Thorsten Rehm
Ilona Schulz Ilona Schulz ... Frau Sussmann (as Ilona Christina Schulz)
Robert Schupp ... Tobias
Heinz Röser-Dümmig Heinz Röser-Dümmig ... Lutger Reinhardt
Martina Eckrich Martina Eckrich ... Renate Pföhler
Nina Fiedler Nina Fiedler ... Bine
Hans-Rüdiger Kucich Hans-Rüdiger Kucich ... Gerd Postweiler
Ruth Köppler Ruth Köppler ... Elvira Fischer-Walter
Achim Enchelmaier Achim Enchelmaier ... Bernd
Monika Hirschle Monika Hirschle ... Melanies Mutter
Volker Jeck Volker Jeck ... Melanies Vater
Hans-Peter Gastiger Hans-Peter Gastiger ... Recycler
Andreas Bornhardt Andreas Bornhardt ... Garden Center Worker


A young German school teacher begins a new job, a fresh start to hopeful future. She has a vision of her life as a trusted teacher and beloved member of her new neighborhood. Things begin to slip, plans don't quite match her expectations and she falls behind in her life. She is unable to manage the casual cruelty of every day life and it becomes a burden of loneliness and source of chaos she can't escape.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The school scenes were shot at the school where the director's mother was teaching. Both of her parents are teachers. See more »


References Sex and the City (1998) See more »


He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's The Pilot
Performed by Grandaddy
Courtesy of V2
Written by Jason Lytle
Published by BMG Songs, Inc. o/b/o Genghis Music, Deadlineless & Jason Lytle
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User Reviews

9 January 2017 | by ReganRebeccaSee all my reviews

I've seen all of Maren Ade's film as of this writing in 2016 and I don't think she's made a bad, or even middling one yet. The Forest for the Trees is her absolutely astonishing debut and immediately showcases her style and strengths.

First of all this isn't a "beautiful" film. Made as a student thesis you can see it was filmed on the cheap on video so the images will never really bowl you over (with a few exceptions). Where Ade's strength lies is in uncovering the hellish situations in reality. She first introduces us to Melanie Pröschle, a sweet, but goofy school teacher who is moving to a new (small) city to teach grade school students. Feeling alone in her apartment building she quickly spies her neighbour Tina Schaffner, and sets about trying to befriend her, which goes in awkward fits and starts as Melanie is socially awkward and doesn't seem to understand boundaries and is constantly confused as to whether her new friend really likes her or not. At first, the tensions between Melanie and Tina seem like the normal awkward pains that happen when adults struggle to make new friendships, but as the movie wears on, and Melanie's professional life flies further out of control, she places greater and greater importance on Tina and her friendship leading to increasingly disturbing encounters between them.

It is an incredibly painful movie to watch because I'm sure everyone has experienced each side of the coin of being a Melanie or a Tina and this movie presents the worst of both worlds. It also features one of the best endings I've ever seen in a movie, and the final shot will stick in my mind for a long time.

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Release Date:

27 January 2005 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Las dla drzew See more »

Filming Locations:

Germany See more »


Box Office

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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