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  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 4, No. 6, 2005
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Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
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Marissa Consiglieri de Chackal
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  Film Reviews  
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Talk to Her
City of God
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Blind Shaft
The Corporation
Station Agent
The Agronomist
Maria Full of Grace
Man Without a Past
In This World
Buffalo Boy
Shake Hands with the Devil
Born into Brothels


reviewed by



I don’t ever want to be rich. No more than I’d like to be poor, which would be just as absurd of a proclamation. The struggle makes the man -- or the woman -- as the case may be.

So the idea at the core of Hans Weingartner’s The Edukators -- breaking into the homes of the rich, and not stealing, but only rearranging their furniture -- is one with which I can identify. In a sense, theirs is a truly revolutionary idea, one that leaves authorities baffled because the activists’ principled cause puts them on higher moral ground: they avoid the temptations of theft which would prove them no more ethical than their victims.

Making a film about revolutionary ideas would seem quite a feat in such complacent times. But Weingartner has managed to tap into the energy of youth, thanks to strong, believable performances from the entire cast, including Daniel Bruhl (from Weingartner’s last film, Goodbye Lenin) who convincingly plays Jan. The threesome of Jan, Jule and Peter have found a cause which allows them, at least in their own eyes, to rise above the passivity that marks their generation. Eventually, Jule falls for Jan and convinces him that they should embark on a solo break-in adventure. But when they return to the victim’s villa to recover Jule’s lost cell phone, disaster strikes and thrusts them into an unfortunate series of events including the subsequent kidnapping of the villa’s owner. All of this occurs within the film’s first hour, leaving ample time in the second half for engaging dialogue between the victim, a rich executive named Hardenberg, and his unlawful, but idealistic and highly charismatic captors.

Thankfully, the dialogue-driven second half never feels too weighty or clichéd because it has been conceived, developed and executed in such a way as to emphasize certain ideological principles which would seem irrefutable at this point in history. In a sense, theirs is the script we all know, the script of ‘our time,’ laden with ideas and actions which most of us are too afraid to consider, less adopt, amidst the comfort and complacency of our attitudes and lifestyles.

It’s an inviting idea to think of our protagonists as superheroes, albeit with limited powers: the ability to break into homes by deactivating home security alarm systems; the subsequent task of rearranging the furniture and decor in a way which undermines its intended functionality; and the final touch of leaving a simple note addressed to the victims announcing their days of plenty are numbered. Our anonymous superheroes strike at night, with motivations unlike any other superheroes heretofore conceived: with no aim to steal, only to scare.

In the making of The Edukators, Weingartner’s restraint is evident throughout the film. Shot on location in high definition video, form and content are seamlessly integrated and the issues of the script handled with democratic sensitivity. The straightforward language of the film is tailored to youth audiences and the themes (love, morality, justice) which engage them.

To reduce the ‘edukator’s’ behaviour as merely criminal is to entirely miss the point of the movie. Weingartner uses the criminal gesture to explore the idea of lost ideals in the modern age. Unlike mainstream Hollywood, his film asks: how many people are willing to risk their own individual comforts for a chance at real collective change?

Weingartner has proposed a film that we can either resist or embrace, where taking a position, if only a theoretical one, clarifies where we stand on certain issues. It’s a start.


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