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IFC Films

Official Site

Director: Hans Weingartner

Producers: Hans Weingartner, Antonin Svoboda

Written by: Katharina Held, Hans Weingartner

Cast: Daniel Bruhl, Stipe Erceg, Julia Jentsch, Burghart Klaußner


A lot of people struggle everyday to help create a better world. Some line up at protests, others practice charity, and a few work to destroy the capitalist machinery of oppression. The struggle against the status quo of poverty and servitude is not an easy one, and sometimes it doesn’t even help (a la Robespierre). The Edukators have given up on protests, don’t bother with charity, and have sworn off violence. It seems like every morning, they roll up a spliff composed of Gandhi, Marx, and Tyler Durden, and just toke on it till they break into a mansion and redecorate.

Poor Jule (Jentsch) works every day serving rich people their fine wines and liquors, dealing with snobbery face to face. Even though she works constantly, she cannot pay rent and is cruelly evicted. Her caring boyfriend Peter (Erceg) offers her a place with him and his roommate, and has even set up a short vacation for them. Just when things look better, Jule cannot go and must clean her apartment, else she forsake her deposit. Peter’s roommate, Jan (Bruhl) helps her with this task, and the two grow close. She tells him of her debt to a richie named Hardenberg, whom she owes over 90,000 euros (over 120,000$ for those who haven’t been to Europe lately). The two grow so close than Jan shares a secret with her: He and Peter are the Edukators, a duo of subversives that frighten rich people with rearranged furniture and refrigerated stereos. Being drunk and a girl, she decides she must go see Hardenberg’s place and edukate him. Jan tries to think straight and talk some reason into her, but talking a passionate girl out of criminal activity is nigh impossible with cupid’s arrow so deeply embedded in your ass. Unfortunately, she’s no pro and the two soon find themselves in troubled…

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a Marxist protagonist, and it’s about friggin’ time if you ask me (which you must have if you’re reading this). It seems like no one really cares about the growing gap between rich and poor, entire countries indebted to the IMF world bank, worldwide illiteracy and death rates, and all the other symptoms of extravagance and ignorance among the wealthiest humans. Well, that’s not true, I know plenty of people who do, but none of them make films or decide policy. I was hoping The Edukators would be about communication between Marxists and capitalists, and in a way it was, but this movie is more about the classic “two boys and one girl” problem. The macroeconomic struggle was in the background. But maybe I just had my hopes up from seeing The Corporation not too long ago (fucking awesome documentary).

Hans Weingartner got a rather good performance out of everyone, shining even through the language gap. This is an Austrian film, but my first impression was that it was German. I’m not trained linguistically or culturally to identify differences between Austria and Germany, but it many ways it will seem very similar to Run Lola Run or The Warrior And The Princess. You get a lot of “eye drama,” where the looks and glances each character gives say important things that the script won’t. I’m not going to hold that style against the movie or Hans Weingartner, but I suspect most Americans will find it kind of silly. Go ahead and laugh at it if you want, they’ll just be laughing at us for gratuitous shower scenes and video game movies (shudder). I’ve also heard people talking about a surprise ending, but the only thing I found surprising is that it didn’t turn into a typical German operatic tragedy. Thank God for that.

Go on, check this one out if you’ve got nothing better to do. You can pretend to be cosmopolitan while you do it.

—Duncan Wright

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