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THE EDUKATORS

Martin Stein

It's not often a movie press kit comes full of arguments for revolt against capitalism. But I guess if we lived in Germany, with an unemployment rate of 12.6 percent—its highest since the '30s—and a stagnant economy, it might be more common.


Director, co-writer and co-producer Weingartner frames his diatribe with a story of two young men and a woman. After Jule is fired from her job for being a bad waitress and evicted from her apartment for not paying her rent for six months, she moves in with Jan and Peter, her boyfriend. Unknown to her, the unemployed Jan and Peter are the Edukators, breaking into the homes of the well-to-do, rearranging furniture into precarious piles and leaving threatening notes behind. Their stated purpose is to instill a lifelong fear into the rich for the sin of being rich and having bourgeois values.


When Peter flies to Spain for some murky reason (it's tough being a poor revolutionary when airfares are so cheap), Jan reveals their secret to his girlfriend. Jule, who has been paying back wealthy businessman Hardenberg because she totaled his Mercedes, convinces Jan to break into his home. Secretly in love with her, Jan agrees and soon the two are lip-locked in the pool.


Naturally, Hardenberg picks that time to arrive back home, and naturally Jan, Jule and the now-returned and cuckolded Peter kidnap Hardenberg.


The rest of the film takes place in Jule's uncle's mountain cabin, the uncle presumably being not rich enough to bother terrorizing. Away from civilization, the trio are free to expound at great lengths about the justness of their cause, of how it's not fair that the wealthy have more money and how it's not fair that they don't give it away. Hardenberg nods, and then reveals that in his youth, he, too, was a radical. Soon, hands and feet are untied and joints are passed around.


But after all the posturing is over and slogans are voiced, this remains a movie meant to be a hectoring lesson about life's inequalities. Bereft of onscreen chemistry, the lover's triangle lacks sharp points, and without a sense of peril for either the radicals or capitalist, the plot is a flat, dull line. Like the overly serious teacher who bores his students to sleep, Weingartner would do well to learn to entertain before sermonizing.

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