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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.

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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

Very, very painful to watch--don't say I didn't warn you!
2 February 2008 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Melanie is a new college graduate and is beginning her first teaching assignment. However, she is destined to fail because she is painfully unsure of herself and simply doesn't have it emotionally to be teaching kids. The bottom line is that kids walk all over her, her co-workers generally ignore her, she has almost no friends and she's miserable and alone. Because of this, it made me cringe at times to watch and I kept hoping the character would get into group therapy or find another job. However, she did not and her life continued to spiral out of control--leading to an ending that could be interpreted at least two different ways (neither of which are very positive).

This movie is a wonderful example of a fairly well made film that is very, very painful to watch. While I have a very high tolerance for this sort of thing AND I was interested in the psychological profile of the main character (since I teach psychology), I just can't see the average person sticking with this film or feeling especially satisfied by it. Now this isn't to say it isn't good or worth seeing--but it just takes a particular type of person to view it.

Additionally, I can relate because I am a teacher and I have met several teachers a lot like Melanie. Usually I try to help them out, but in some cases there isn't much you can do other than let them know you care--you can't give a spineless person a backbone or give them enough self-confidence to be able to manage an entire room filled with kids. And, in such cases, the kids usually figure this out quickly and the teacher is "toast", so to speak. Maybe this is also why I felt the movie was so painful--it reminded me of several young teachers (including one who literally had the job kill him due to his poor fit and lack of self-esteem).

Overall, this is well made and perhaps the 6 is a bit harsh, but I had to take off at least a point because it was shot on videotape (making it look cheap) and because of its very, very limited appeal. Still, for lovers of edgy independent and foreign films, it might just be worth a look.

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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 »


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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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