The Edukators Chronicles German Political Youth

Films about the political youth movement don’t come out very much in the USA. That’s why the German export, The Edukators is such a treat. It’s a statement on left vs. right politics…Idealism vs. growing up, and several other rarely discussed issues. The movie is a thriller of sorts, but also surprisngly funny, and most of all – about real ideas.

Jay(Daniel Br�¼hl) is a cynical Berlin youth. He resents just about all things coorporate and capatilistic. He actively protests against third world sweatshops and other wrong doings of the modern world. With his best friend Peter(Stipe Erceg), he comes upon a new game to play. The two guys partake in breaking into mansions and creating a ruckus.

They don’t steal anything, they simply move valuables around and make it obvious that they were there. They leave messages saying things like “You have too much money,” in an attempt to unsettle the upper crust.

So, what could go wrong? Enter Peter’s girlfriend Jule(Julia Jentsch). Jule is just as bitter about the world as the t wo guys, especially because she’s paying off a huge debt to Hardenberg(Burghart Klaussner), a wealthy lawyer. Jule convinces Jan to break into Hardenberg’s place but when the man returns home, all hell breaks loose.

They call Peter and the three youths drag their new captive to the mountains where they try and figure out how to get out of the situation.

Once there, the film’s pace slows down, and it becomes more of a thinking movie. The kids debate Hardenberg about capalism and other social evils. Hardenberg reveals that in his own youth he was much like them, but had to become responsibe when he married & settled down. A love triangle forms between Jule, Jan, and Peter causing other problems.

The youths eventually realize they can’t off the guy, and they can’t take him with them. So they decide to take him back to his villa. By this time Hardenberg has seemingly grown to love his captivehood, and almost treating it as a vacation. They take him back and as they drop him off, both sides seem to have learned from the other. But ultimately that isn’t the film’s argument.

The film is really unique to the product Hollywood chruns out and I appreciated that. The performances were all very good, especially Klaussner, who in my opinion had the toughest role. The movie was shot on digital video but it does not appear terribly grainy, or have any of the other problems generally associated with the format. This is destined to be a little seen film, but I urge you to seek it out.

3.5 out of 4 stars

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