The Edukators are Jan (Daniel Bruhl) and Peter (Stipe Erceg), anti-capitalists with their own ideas for how to build for socialist revolution. With the handy skill of being able to disarm an alarm, they break in to rich people’s houses, go in, and rearrange the furniture. They leave them with the unnerving message “Your days of plenty are numbered”. Directed by Hans Weingartner, his second feature since 2001’s The White Noise, he explains in an interview that, this generation no longer “know how to fight against the system”. His offering to this conundrum has received him nomination for the Golden Palm at The Cannes Film Festival.
Jule (Julia Jentsch) enters the film in commendable fashion at an anti-sweatshop protest. She seems to be falling victim to a string of unfortunate events. She is indebted to the villainous corporate head Hardenburg (Burghart Klausner) by €100,000, and as a result is turfed out from her flat. It’s all a bit convenient at this point and she’s all too vulnerable, but this lays the foundations for what is to become a twist-ridden plot. She is Peter’s girlfriend but the tale is to take a turn, as she and Jan decide to ‘edukate’ her creditor.
The film beautifully unwinds in the Alps with accidental kidnap, sordid love triangle and a dialogue that uses both drama and comedy to converse its ideals. However, the film acknowledges Hardenburg’s acceptance of the system too - explaining that once he too denounced capitalism. But ‘disillusioned’ by the love of his own money, he says, “one day you wake up and find you’ve voted conservative.”
The film, although celebrating rebellion in youth, is not simply advocating shifting furniture and the odd kidnap as the answer to the wrongs of capitalism. However fun it might make it look, getting a few buddies together to take hostage an affluent acquaintance is probably not the right idea. A clear metaphor for much greater change, Weingartner explains, “The Edukators tells a story of resistance, a story of poetic resistance”.