dir. Hans Weingartner
The Edukators (or Die fetten Jahre sind vorbe in German) is like a jump into the life I wish I had the guts to live: young, politically charged, free from inhibition, and daring enough to break into wealthy homes and mess them up. The Edukators is a German film released in 2004 and nominated for the Golden Palm award at Cannes. It’s a story of three German twenty-somethings struggling to live in a society based on ideas they despise. They go to rallies, boycott stores, and protest the government in their free time, but director Hans Weingarter wastes no time showing the harder side of the revolutionary lifestyle: the boring 9 to 5s, struggling to make rent. Our 3 youths, Jan, Jule and Peter, feel the struggle between what they want to do and the reality of modern Germany. Friends Jan and Peter have jobs working for a security company, and they’ve been making random acts of “education”. They break into rich people’s homes while these families are away and rearrange everything. They don’t steal, but instead stack chairs into giant towers in the living room, put collectible statues in the toilet, and misplace the stereo in the fridge. But the piece de resistance of these acts is the notes they leave, saying, “YOUR DAYS OF PLENTY ARE NUMBERED”. When they involve Peter’s girlfriend Jule, she goes on a vendetta against a Mercedes-toting man who has made her life unlivable with debt. They break into his home and do their thing, but everything goes awry when the man, Hardenburg, returns home. Our petty delinquents become kidnappers, and are left with a horrible decision to make.
I absolutely love this movie. The dialogue is so true to life, and we feel the constant struggle between what our heroes know is right and what they must do to survive. Their ideologies are thought provoking and profound, and throughout the movie they make the most valid political points I’ve ever heard anyone say. Seriously- it will change what you think you know about politics, socialism, and modern society. Hardenburg also serves as a personification of the lost idealism, the conformity. He used to be a free-thinker, an activist, but gave it all up for wealth and ease.
This film is one of my all-time favorites. It’s perfect for anyone who’s ever dreamt of seriously messing with the status quo. The movie is in German, which can be a deterrent to some, but I implore you to take a chance and learn something new and gripping from The Edukators.