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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.