17 February 2008

The Edukators

This movie had its way with me. It's actually kind of embarrassing, how well this movie had me pegged. I was helpless against its charms. It's not that it's a brilliant movie - though it's beautifully shot and definitely interesting, its leisurely pace would probably drive the average viewer crazy, and I suspect that a lot of it would seem melodramatic and self-indulgent to a lot of people, but me, I loved it.

The story centers around 3 incredibly attractive disaffected youths. They're all smart and likeable and wonderfully earnest in their revolutionary, anti-capitalist fervor. While they arguably toe the line of extremism, they genuinely strive to be ethical people, which makes them highly appealing. Of course, the ethics of their particular breed of revolution is highly questionable - they break into rich people's houses and re-arrange the furniture and mess the place up a bit (not stealing anything) and then leave a note saying either "You have too much money" or "Your days of plenty are numbered". The movie doesn't really call this behavior into question or really investigate its more problematic aspects, seeming content to set them up as heroes in this regard, but I was willing to go along for the ride. But then, there's a twist, and they end up in a ridiculously gorgeous cabin in the mountains with one of the fat cats they're fighting against, where they settle into a delightfully contemplative companionship. There's an added twist of some romantic drama, and from there the movie basically soars happily into a blissful pastoral idealism that would probably strike the average person as preposterous, but that had me hopelessly enthralled.

Though admittedly, I was already hooked long before, for entirely personal reasons. See, the first portion of the movie is set in Berlin, which might be the closest thing I have to a home (it's a long story), and so I was just happy to be roaming familiar streets and hearing German. And the characters reminded me so much of me and my friends, even down to the way their apartments were decorated. It would have been eerie if it hadn't been so lovely, that's how accurate it was. It was like watching a potential version of my life, had I not left. So yeah, critical faculties went mostly out the window for me on this one.

But on a more reasonable level, one thing that I found really interesting about the movie was the fat cat, Hardenberg. His character is handled in a really fascinating way. You never know, ultimately, what he's really like. All of his monologues could easily be bullshit. He reminisces about his revolutionary past and how he strayed so far from his former ideals, and it all seems quite compelling, but at the same time, the movie clearly shows him to be adept in deceit. And actually, I don't think the ending of the movie sheds light on the status of his sincerity either way, which is part of what I find so fascinating about it.

I really can't say whether or not I'd recommend the movie. Part of me feels like I'd be embarrassed to - it's a fantasy so perfectly tailored to me that recommending it almost seems like offering to let someone read my diary. Also, like I said, I'm really not sure that the movie would be appealing to anyone who couldn't identify with it so strongly. Though I do think the movie does a good job of complicating its narrative with other perspectives, rather than simply setting up the protagonists as heroes in an uncritical fashion. So I dunno. If you've seen it, leave some thoughts in the comments, eh?

No comments: