The Edukators

I’ve lately been bingeing on German films (

why yes, I have been feeling homesick, how did you guess?

). Germany at present seems to be churning out a good number of decent films, although I’m not enough of a buff to say whether [claims]( of a golden age are more than hype.

_The Edukators_ (2004) is certainly a good film, albeit far from flawless. Roughly speaking, it’s a political take on the caper film, with a love triangle thrown in for good measure. Jan, Peter and Jule are young Berliners, embroiled in anti-globalization campaigning that they know is useless. Unbeknown to Jule, Jan and Peter have a second life as a team of anticapitalist pranksters, who ransack the homes of the rich, without stealing anything, in the hope of showing them the error of their ways.

Not the most direct way of fighting the system, perhaps, but in the world of the film personality always trumps practicality. Among ‘the edukators’, politics with the personal. If, as they daub on a wall at one point, “every heart is a revolutionary cell”, then simply wanting to “live wild and free” is enough to fight the system.

Naturally, this can’t last. Surprised by the owner of a house they have broken into, they kidnap him so he cannot turn them in to the police. This is when the real education begins, as the three youngsters lie low in a mountain village with their captive, Hardenberg. This latter turns out to be not just a businessman but also a disillusioned radical, a child of the 60s for whom the “long march through the institutions” led to becoming part of the system. The film just about manages to contrast the viewpoints of its characters: yes, they’re muddled and disoriented, but then so is their reality.

The director is fairly clear about his [propaganda aims](

>As you leave the cinema, you should have the feeling “if I, as a young person — and youth has nothing at all to do with age — have the feeling that something is wrong with the world — I am not happy, I am angry, then this feeling must come out, must be translated into action. Otherwise it could make me ill”

Incidentally, I can’t help giggling at the need for the faux-German title. The group in the film give themselves the far-less-sexy name of “Die Erziehungsberechtigten” (meaning something like “the guardians”), while the German title of the film was the uninspiring slogan “Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei” (the years of plenty are over). Phony ‘K’ or no, I think the international market got a better deal.

[This]( is the best review I’ve seen; [Rotten Tomatoes]( has plenty of others, and [here]( are some links to German reviews.

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