For two weeks, 20 male participants are hired to play prisoners and guards in a prison. The "prisoners" have to follow seemingly mild rules, and the "guards" are told to retain order without using physical violence.
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
The students are repeating a play, in which only "The Wave" students have roles after Karo is fired. In this play, 'Der Besuch der alten Dame' by Friedrich Durenmatt, an old woman who was exiled from her village by her fellow inhabitants comes back after many years. Having lost her billionaire husband and inherited his wealth, she has her revenge by leading all the villagers to kill her former lover who didn't help her. One of the themes is the group action and how people lose their personalities in a group. This mirrors the teacher's experience, who lead people into acting and losing personalities. 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 »
A wonderful and moving film that had me gripped throughout. Absolutely brilliant.
This is a wonderful film with a superb screenplay and direction and great acting from its mainly young cast. I felt myself being drawn into the film in the same way as Mr Wenger's students were being drawn into his 'experiment'. The drama unfolds relatively slowly at first, but with gathering momentum and consequences. There is also a very moving portrayal of some of the tensions produced within some of the romantic pairings as well as the extreme anguish caused in one student by his heightened susceptibility. I think the depth to which personal relationships and social groupings are explored make this into much more of a fascinating drama than an exercise in the condemning of fascism. Please don't be put off by the subtitles. I can't recommend this film too highly.
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