Jan (Daniel Brühl, Ladies in Lavender) and Peter are the best friends behind the radical and mysterious group The Edukators, united by their passion to change the world, in "The funniest, most original movie I?ve seen all ... more »year." (David Edwards, The Daily Mirror). When the rich go on vacation, The Edukators break into their homes. They don?t steal, but simply rearrange everything, leaving the message "Your days of plenty are numbered." When Peter?s girlfriend Jule (Julia Jentsch, winner, Best Young Actress, 2005 Bavarian Film Awards) moves in, she joins them in their subversive activities. But when a rich businessman catches them in the act, they rashly decide to kidnap him. Faced with the values of the generation in power, they will see what kind of revolutionaries they are, if their friendship can survive, and discover if they truly work in the interest of the greater good, or just in their own self-interest. Passions rage and loyalties shatter in director Hans Weingartner?s exciting film that?s "Fresh, biting, gripping, tender, and tense." (The Telegraph On Sunday« less
Thomas M. Seay | Palo Alto, California USA | 08/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A trio of young idealistic germans breaks into houses of the wealthy, not to steal or inflict much damage but rather to rearrange the furniture in odd designs and leave haunting messages such as "Your life of Plenty will not go on for long" as a form of protest against the inequalities of capitalism. When on one occasion they are caught by a rich home owner, they kidnap him in order to avoid arrest but dont really know what to do with him. So, they abscond with him to an uncle's mountain cabin where they hope to devise how to proceed.
The young revolutionaries are no Baader-Meinhof. It is apparent they have no wish to hurt the middle-aged capitalist, though we fear that in order to "save their behinds" they might foolishly take some action that would plunge them into deeper trouble. But alongside this drama regarding the man's fate, there is a philosophical story unfolding that is even more compelling. As it turns out the kidnapped man was not always a bourgeois. During the 60s revolts he was a student radical himself and identifies with the idealism of his abductors. Over the course of their conversations, he explains the mechanisms by which he ended up in his current situation. It is familiar to many of us. One day, you want a car that doesn't break down and some other conveniences. Then you have children and want security for them. Then one day, to your surprize, you find yourself voting conservative.
So this is a movie about how difficult it is to effect progressive change nowadays. There is (usually)no need for a police state to pounce on progressives, as the media and the sirens of commodity fetishism circumvent our disquiet. The activist's message does not get heard in the big media, except for the passing derogatory remark. Television, on the one hand, numbs people and, on the other hand, makes them believe they must have certain commodities in order to be "somebody". Faced with a populus distracted by all this glitter, the revolutionary, too, grows tired of waiting for people to wake up to reality, and finally, slowly slides down the same slippery slope as the german capitalist depicted here. All the easier since young people of this ilk tend to be extremely intelligent and can quickly rise in the system once they set their minds to it.
Even the capitalist realizes what a trap the sytem is. He is not happy. He collects things but does not even have the time to enjoy them. So, it would appear that one is faced with a dilemma, a catch-22. If we stay true to our ideals, we face poverty and insignificance. If we get "realistic" and join the system, we become food for the machine and live to purchase more things which we hope will save us from our hell.
The situation portrayed in this film speaks to the young and not so young whose banner reads "A Better World is Possible". Revolts, like that of Seattle and the recent demonstrations against the war, flare up and die off again. The failure of "real" socialism and the momentary (I hope) ability to imagine a plausible alternative makes us timid and we feel daunted by the strength of the system vis a' vis our powerlessness. This film explores that psychology."
Great movie about the present state of hopelessness amongst
Melanie Kirkham | Salt Lake City | 03/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"On the back of the DVD cover it says that it was one of the funniest movies that person had seen all year. That I would disagree with, because I found it anything but funny. However it is a great movie. It really captures this feeling of powerlessness and of hopelessness that one finds in German youth and young adults. Although I am sure the same goes for Americans. All three main characters work, because they have to, but aren't exactly sure where it will ever get them. They start breaking into houses-huge, rich villas-, not to steal anything, but to rearrange furniture and take away that feeling of security from the rich. The feeling of security is something they haven't experienced yet in their adult lives. Jule owes a lot of money to a filthy rich guy, because she hit his mercedes and was uninsured. All she works for, is to pay him back. On her insistance they break into his house and end up getting caught by him. In a rush moment they abduct him and go to this hut in the mountains. There begins a conversation between the three and the captured. He, although now wealthy, claims to have been quite active in the 60s and 70s and that he understands what's going on him them. It becames an interesting dialogue, but it's not idealized, because Jule's and Peter's position is brought into question as well, because violence doesn't solve anything. The movie never really gives an answer to what the solution for the future is, but it discribes this present state of mind perfectly and states that something has to change, better sooner than later. All three actors do an terrific job."
An original form of protest
Lleu Christopher | Hudson Valley, NY | 02/09/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Edukators is a very interesting German film, directed by Hans Weingartner, about three young radicals whose ideals are put to the test. We at first observe them taking part in fairly commonplace demonstrations against global trade. These are people, however, who are determined to take things beyond the level of protest. Jan and Peter are friends who break into the homes of affluent people and, instead of stealing anything, simply rearrange the furniture and other items. They leave a calling card with the message, "Your days of plenty are numbered," and sign it "The Edukators." The premise is in itself fascinating and leads to some humorous scenes as well as provoking thought. The humor comes from seeing the absurd relocation of objects, such as putting a stereo in the refrigerator. This is, rather than conventional vandalism, a kind of performance art, meant to create uneasiness and self-examination on the part of the victims.
While Peter is out of town, his girlfriend Jule and Jan spend time together and become attracted to each other. After Jan introduces Jule to the Edukators' tactics, Jule convinces him to help her "visit" the home of a businessman to whom she owes a large sum of money following a car accident. The man catches them and they end up kidnapping him, bringing Peter into the action. The rest of the film follows the three friends as they decide what to do with their victim and debate politics with him. Some of these discussions are interesting, though they inevitably follow a predictable course ("you are a parasite living off the poor" vs. "I have a right to what I earned," to paraphrase). The businessman, however, moves from arguing with his captors to sympathizing with them, explaining that he was once a radical himself. Is this for real or merely a ploy to gain their trust? The romantic triangle further escalates the tension.
I liked the intellectual content of The Edukators; it reminds us of how few films today deal sympathetically with characters who are not only outside the system, but actively oppose it. Even better, the movie does not simply romanticize the radicals and demonize the businessman. It actually raises more questions than it answers, which is probably a good thing. It is not a perfect film; some of the situations seem a bit contrived (e.g. one of them is an expert at deactivating burglar alarms because he used to work for a security company). The ending is more of a clever punchline than a serious resolution of matters. Still, it is very engaging and well-acted and puts a new face on the old dilemma of participating in vs. fighting mainstream society. "
Your days of plenty are numbered....
A. Hahn | Oxford, England | 12/23/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Jan and Peter are two best friends who try to change the world by screwing with the minds of the wealthy. When the rich go on vacation, these two boys break into their homes and move stuff around. However, when Peter's girlfriend gets into the act for revenge, everythings goes horribly wrong and friendships begin to crack. Even though there is obviously some deeper meaning to this film, it is still interesting enough to keep viewers engaged. The acting is excellent, especially with Daniel Bruehl from 'Good-bye, Lenin!' as Jan. A must-see for everyone, whether you speak German or not."
The simplest things
Dan M | UK | 07/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I generally hate rom-coms. Occasionally though, watching two people falling in love and expressing it in a very simple way just gets through and wins my heart. For me, The Edukators works on the same level. It is a film which allows important ideas about the politics in our lives to be conveyed in a very simple way. And I see this as a great strength. Too often, complexity and overanalysis can dull us to a concept we fundamentally believe in and give us the excuse to deny its power. I'd be interested to ask those who complain that the politics here are too stripped down and "text-book" when they actually last heard sypathetic characters with such pure ideology given a voice and the chance to chase down their beliefs in a big screen drama, in front of the world, as opposed to in the campus bar. We don't resist the simplicity of "I love you". Yet what could be more complex than love? I enjoyed the rush of spending time with characters who say "I believe I can change things" and are allowed to have a go at doing just that."