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Thread: The Edukators (2004) (Germany)

  1. #1
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    The Edukators (Die Fetten Jahre sind vorbei) (2004) (Germany)

    Director: Hans Weingartner
    Cast: Daniel Brühl, Stipe Erceg, Julia Jentsch, Burghart Klaussner

    In German Film Awards 2005, it won Gold for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role and Silver for Outstanding Feature Film.

    The official website is here
    http://www.theedukators.com


    What I like ...
    -- Ha ha ha ... how could you not like some of the lines
    e.g., in defence, "I've been playing the game but I didn't make up the rules." ... rebuttal, "It's not who invented the gun but who pulls the trigger." ... wow ... ;)
    e.g., "Under 30 and not liberal, no heart. Over 30 and still liberal, no brain." ... wow ... ;)
    -- In fact, the conversation between the old man and the three young people was food for thought … it makes me think …
    … has everyone walked through the youth of idealism once … can we really change the world?
    … has age and time, society and realism set in to make people resign to fate …
    -- As usual, I wonder how the film would end, and I thought it ended very well! hee hee ...
    -- I actually like the song "Hallelujah"!
    -- Finally, I commend the entire cast for carrying their roles very well …


    What could be better ...
    -- The beginning was promising, but somehow, somewhere near the middle, the "thriller" pace was "lost" (sigh …), but near the end, the film was interesting again ... ;)
    -- Hmmm … if you are a capitalist … maybe you will dislike the film … just maybe …


    Conclusion:
    -- Above average.
    ;)
    Last edited by hengcs; 08-09-2005 at 11:28 PM.

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    Re: The Edukators (Die Fetten Jahre sind vorbei) (2004) (Germany)

    Originally posted by hengcs
    -- Hmmm … if you are a capitalist … maybe you will dislike the film … just maybe …

    Nice line. ;)

  3. #3
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    THE EDUKATORS -- my take

    Hans Weingartner: The Edukators

    Revisiting the politics of gesture

    Review by Chris Knipp

    A somewhat thin but likeable film, The Edukators shows us a couple of young German guys who're reborn Seventies terrorists reduced to gesture. At night they break into rich people's houses and rearrange the furniture leaving notes telling their victims they've got too much money and had better watch out. (The Days of Plenty Are Over -- Die Fetten Jahre sind vorbei -- goes the German film title.) They also go to demos and forcibly leaflet shoe stores with warnings about child labor, but their real thrills come in the break-ins: they're hooked on the rush. One has a girlfriend who works at a snooty upscale restaurant where customers and manager are equally abusive to her.

    Things get messy when the other young man, Jan (Daniel Brühl) is prodded into an impulsive break-in with his friend's girl, Jule (Julie Jentsch). He's falling for her and reveals his secret lawbreaking to impress her. She insists on entering the house because it belongs to a man she owes 94,000 Euros to for totaling his Mercedes. This gesture's unplanned and the girl's inexperienced and they have to break back in the next night to find her cell phone. The owner returns while they're there and recognizes the girl. The three young people, Jule, Jan, and Peter (Stipe Erceg) feel that now they're "blown" they must kidnap the rich guy and take him to a cabin in the mountains, which of course they immediately do.

    These are young revolutionaries after the fact. There's no Bader-Meinhof, no Red Brigades, to belong to. The paradox, a rather pat one, is that the guy they kidnap, Hardenberg (Burghart Klaussner), was a Sixties and Seventies revolutionary himself, who only slowly slid into the capitalist life. Needless to say the slide turned quite successful, since he now earns over three million a year, but he claims to feel nostalgia for the old days and sympathy for his captors. Before long they're all happily playing cards and he's cooking for them and could probably escape sooner, if he weren't enjoying the forced vacation amid romantic reminders of the old days.

    Things end surprisingly, but The Edukators isn't so much interested in its story as in existing as a platform for youthful critiques of capitalism and pondering the old saw -- which Hardenberg comes up with eventually, Anyone under thirty who isn't liberal has no heart; anyone over thirty who isn't conservative has no mind. The youths are exuberant and naive. Hormones are raging, so, typically, the love triangle almost takes over the politics. Their prisoner is smarter than they are, but what sustains the over-long second half is that his sympathy for his kidnappers doesn't seem fake, just as his story doesn't seem contrived. Or rather, only a little fake and a little contrived.

    This is a film that musters some good suspense and adrenalin rushes at first, but starts losing them as the kidnapping wears on because it all begins to seem more about politics and the talk than about the action, though wondering how it's going to end is still what's going to keep you watching. That such a dichotomy should appear -- politics vs. action -- is an irony of the piece. If you've got sympathy for the youthful rebellion or the critiques of capitalism -- or just want to debate the issues brought up -- the movie can hold your interest. The actors are all plausible and appealing, particularly Klaussner and the young but experienced Brühl, whose sweetness and exuberance motivated the 2003 East Berlin comedy, Goodbye, Lenin. The jerky digital video comes with the territory, though it may some day become as dated as bell-bottoms. The filmmakers could have edited this down to less than two hours and four minutes and given the story harder edges. The music is loud and integral to the youthful portraits.

  4. #4
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    As I see it, there are three elements to The Edukators.
    After the three young characters are established, there's an element of suspense that begins with the spontaneous invasion of Hardenberg's house and practically ends shortly after they all settle in the mountain cabin.
    There's a political debate, one that doesn't dig too deep into issues. It's somewhat skewed in favor of the middle-aged capitalist although the scenes at Jule's restaurant provide counterbalance.
    The best element of The Edukators, in my opinion, is the romantic/relationship aspect. Weingartner patiently shows how, in Peter's absence, Jan and Jule gradually get to know each other and tentatively and hesitantly fall in love. Then, once Peter returns from Barcelona, they are simply baffled as to how to proceed. I found this very moving. Julia Jentsch won a couple of well-deserved awards for her performance here, but the men provide more then capable support.
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 12-13-2005 at 12:05 PM.

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    I don't quite agree with all of your dividing up of the film. The element of suspense really does persist when they're in hiding in the mountains -- in theory, anyway; it may not be exploited very well dramatically -- because they are still in danger of being caught up there. I felt a tension when they were there. They seemed in a fool's paradise -- perhaps another metaphor for utopian dreams and schemes.

    I don't know how deep you expect them to dig into issues of the political debate in a fictional film. For a film there is quite a lot of bringing up issues of social justice, and the contrast between radicalism of the Seventies and of today is brought out. I'm not quite sure what you mean about the argument being "skewed" toward the middleaged ex-radical capitalist (should he lose?), though he does appear to be the one who is more shrewd, and sadder but wiser now. But the youngsters' risk-taking provides the film with whatever energy it has. The relationship issues I agree provide life to the otherwise more abstruact and theoretical plotline. The filmmakers did quite well with limited means. However, I don't think The Edukators leaves a very powerful impression. I'm glad you were moved by something. I'm not sure my friend and I were when we saw it.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 12-13-2005 at 01:55 PM.

  6. #6
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    Unfortunately I can't comment on "The Edukators yet, when I went to see the film in the local art-house cinema I fell asleep during Jeff Buckley's rendition of "Hallelujah", I've never been able to listen to it since. Still I can always try again on dvd someday. All I do remember was wishing there had been more "Edukating."

    Cheers Trev.
    Last edited by trevor826; 12-14-2005 at 01:31 AM.
    The more I learn the less I know.

  7. #7
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    The youngsters seemed rather tongue-tied when debating politics with Hardenberg; unable to put into words what compelled them to become activists. They seemed stunned into silence by the revelation that he had been an SDS member. I'm aware that these objections bespeak my liberal bias.
    What I found fully satisfying was Jan and Jule's love story, which proceeds gently from getting to know each other, to liking each other, to tentative physical affection. I didn't think for one minute that it was a case of "hormones are raging". But that's only how I saw it. Overall, I don't think it's a great movie. But it's a good one. And I've seen more good German movies this year than any other.

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    I understand.

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