The Edukators left me thinking in a way that the other films didn’t—it made me think about the situation of our world and what I am doing to respond to it. Not many movies have the power to do that, while making a compelling narrative that immerses audiences into the characters and the story. At first, it feels and looks like the regular heist thriller movie, but Weingartner has so much in store for viewers to leave empty-handed.
We are introduced to three idealistic, free-thinking activists Jan, Peter, and Jule. Each bring a personality and a human aspect to these ideals for a better society. What sets them apart, aside from their ultra-complicated-romance-friendship love triangle, are what they each think about their vision and values for a better society. At first, Jan and Peter were the self-proclaimed “Edukators” who would raid and trash the houses of the upper class in private subdivisions to teach these elites a lesson. Jule, on the other hand, joined in later on, and was able to let out most of her aggression towards Hardenberg, albeit too recklessly. The movie was able to showcase the class struggle in Germany so well from the point of view of these free spirits, while showing the humanity in their mission. They all decided not to steal from the houses they raided, and took care of Hardenberg to the best of their ability while he was kidnapped by them. It is easy to forget that behind all the ruckus they were making are just three idealistic, yet frightened, young adults who just want a good life despite the corrupt social system.
Another interesting and notable element in the film was the dialogue between characters. Not only were the actors able to portray these people as real, oppressed working class, but it also portrayed people like Hardenberg very well—even to the point that makes you pity him. One of my favorite scenes of the film was when Hardenberg was having lunch with the three activists in Jule’s uncles’ cabin. They were able to have real discourse on the matter on social classes, and although they had opposing views, it was interesting to know the motives of both sides. Hardenberg even admitted, “Some of what you say is true, but I’m the wrong person to be blamed for. Yes, I’ve been playing the game but I didn’t make up the rules,” yet Peter replied, “It’s not who invented the gun. It’s who pulls the trigger.” Most of the lines said by the three are very timely and relevant even in our own context (and the Philippines was even mentioned a number of times in the movie), such as when Jule said, “You want them poor! It’s the way to control them. Make them sell their raw goods at dirt cheap prices…”
What I like most about the film and its story is that it emphasizes a call to action, but not a violent one. And although the characters faced a lot of difficulty and oppression from the upper class, they were able to keep a light and hopeful tone at the end of it all and still managed to have fun. In one of the scenes when Jan and Jule were talking about their views on revolution and hope, he tells her, “Even if [some revolutions] didn’t work, the most important thing is that the best ideas survived. The same goes for personal revolts. What turns out good, what survived in you that makes you stronger.” This gives all of us that watched the movie hope, because we all have something the fight for. It may not be as large scale as social class struggle, but in a way this movie touches our emotions and our personal advocacies in such a charming, heartfelt and playful manner.