High school teacher, Rainer Wenger, may be popular with the students, but he's also unorthodox. He's forced to teach autocracy for the school's project week. He's less than enthusiastic at first, but the response of the students is surprising to say the least. He forces the students to become more invested in the prospect of self rule, and soon the class project has its own power and eerily starts to resemble Germany's past. Can Wegner and his class realize what's happening before the horrors start repeating themselves?Written by
Based on the novel "The Wave" by Todd Strasser (under the pen name Morton Rhue), a fictionalized account of the "Third Wave" teaching experiment by Ron Jones that took place in a Cubberley High School history class in Palo Alto, California in April 1967. See more »
The action is clearly set in the 21st century, but the license plates of most or all cars begin with 'BE' (district 'Beckum', North Rhine-Westphalia). These licenses expired on January 1st, 1975. (This surely is intended to set the action 'somewhere in Germany') See more »
Entertaining fictional experiment in classroom dictatorship
How does anyone really portray autocracy and/or fascism? In most ways, it can be done in the usual one-dimensional concoction of corruption, evil deeds, extreme delusion and paranoia amongst the ruling elites of the regimes. The Wave ("Die Welle") though looks at the issue from a different angle, examining how it can arise and entrance those it touches, and in the process makes the whole issue look fresh again.
The basic story is that of a school teacher (an anarchist at heart) who has to teach a class about "Autocracy". Failing to get their attention, he decides to create an experiment whereby they are to create their own mini autocracy and rules amongst themselves (named "The Wave"). With such a controversial subject, the whole thing gets out of hand with the pupils succumbing to the autocratic fascist methodology with grave consequences.
One important point that needs to be added is that its a German movie, and for historical reasons the topic is a delicate one, yet seems to add to the whole feel. The film is quite realistically disturbing in many ways, and shows how most of the pupils slowly fall for fascism in quite innocent ways. It will make you think and possibly reassess the important question, as asked in the film, if Autocracy can rear its head again.
The writing, the acting and direction are excellent. Jürgen Vogel as the class teacher is both entertaining and thoughtful in his role, but the cast in general is exceptional especially as in the main they are mostly teenagers.
If you like thoughtful films, and wish to see something that is questioning historical events in the present, then there is little to better this. Deserves to be watched. Its a film that will definitely be spoken about and re watched by many repeatedly for many years to come.
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