The Edukators

Alex Worsnip 20/04/2005

Rating: 4/5

Foreign film can often be some of the most rewarding if you seek it out, and so it is with The Edukators, a German film about a group of three young Marxists in Berlin who seek revenge on the rich and greedy of society by breaking into their homes, and rather than stealing anything, playing mind-games with their owners by shifting objects, leaving notes and wreaking general havoc. It's ground that could go horribly wrong, but the film, though written and directed certainly from a leftist point of view, never becomes overly didactic. Its strength here is in the humanity at the core of its story: Daniel Bruhl, last seen in Goodbye Lenin, leading a strong cast that capture the idealism and vigorous youth of the characters. The film has a lot
to say merely on the subjects of hope, love and dreams, before it even gets started on the Politics. When it does, nothing particularly novel is said either by the Marxists or by the figure of middle age (the oddly sweet Burghart Klaussner), but its in the feelings of disaffection and desire to change and rebel that lie behind their somewhat shallow sloganeering (perhaps at times deliberately slipping towards parody) that we really engage with them.

Like the Swedish film Together, another sweet story centering around a group of young Socialists, it's imbued with a humour that gently parodies Marxist cliches without ever appearing scornful. In fact humour runs through the film, particularly evident in the dialogue between the youth and their middle-aged kidnap victim, and his fuzzily nostalgic memories of his own youth. Though plot is predictable at times (the budding affair between Bruhl and Julia Jensch), it manages to bypass the overstatements that plague British and American films of the same genres, and is wonderfully understated, with subtle subtexts playing away, sweet performances that are typically European, and perhaps most important well-shot cinematography. The country landscape is gorgeous, but it is generally shot lovingly and beautifully, and this helps to capture the essence of the spirit in the film. It has an acceptable ambiguous ending, also shot cleverly, and draws to a close in a typically unpretentious manner. Definitely worth seeking out.