The Edukators (2005) is a heavily politicized film dominated by themes such as the bourgeoisie-proletariat dichotomy, the current imbalance in wealth distribution and proposed reappropriation, and the excesses of the rulers of our highly economized world. With all the movies that we have watched in class so far, The Edukators is most similar to Good Bye, Lenin! not only because of Daniel Bruhl’s excellent acting in both films , but with the infusion of socio-political subject matter into the personal lives of the characters in the film. These cumbersome themes are interspersed within the trappings of daily human life depicted in the movie: complicated relationships, unfulfilling work, struggles to make ends meet. We see in the film that far larger forces are at play in our day-to-day, and they influence the trajectories of our lives immensely. These impose upon us a sense of passivity, a helplessness to the social behemoth that dictates how we progress in the world. The Edukators presents us with a portrait of a struggle against this passivity, how the human intersects with the ideal.
What drives this movie throughout its 127-minute running time are the central characters’ motivations and the execution of their actions. I enjoyed how knowledgeable the characters were of the various realities and injustices being committed by the upper 1% of society in order to retain the power and privilege that they possessed. The passion that they had in battling the oppressions faced by most of society emanated from the dialogues that they had with each other and with Hardenberg, the film’s figure of this 1%. Instilling fear in the minds of the upper class a la The Edukators–breaking into their houses, making a complete mess, and leaving an ominous note–was genius for me. It pushed forth a non-violent yet equally menacing approach to leaving a statement, one that would be imprinted in their minds forever. It was perfect, until Jule and Jan’s erroneous encounter, which completely shifted the progression of the movie. Here we begin to see the frailties of the human person interfering with the idealist actions of the characters.
The latter half of the film focused on the kidnapping of Hardenberg, and their encampment in a cabin situated in the beautiful Austrian Alps. In this part of the film, human responses take over as panic surges with the current situation, and tensions were high when Peter finds out about Jan and Jule’s budding romance. Character development is also prominent in the part of Hardenberg, as it is revealed that he was a radical in his youth and fought for the same things as the main characters. We see how these shape the succeeding events, still juxtaposed with discussions on political ideologies among Hardenberg and the three. Given the idealistic tendencies of the movie, we see how life is still shaped by human experiences and our responses to them. Despite political and economic forces ruling our lives, human interaction has the capability to influence our lives just as much. We see Hardenberg giving Jule a letter that waived her debt after that eye-opening second act. It is in interactions such as these where we witness the human in everyone, unadulterated by hegemonic forces.