Three young friends, who consider themselves activists, obtain their kicks from breaking and entering the homes of the rich and then rearranging their furniture. Whilst inside the home of a businessman they believe to be on holiday, the owner unexpectedly returns. Panicking, the trio kidnap the older man, which sets off a battle of wits and ideology.

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New new wave takes on activism.

Hot on the heels of the recent spate of political films like The Corporation (2004), Hotel Rwanda (2005) and The Interpreter (2005) comes The Edukators, an energetic movie that is part of a new New Wave of German filmmaking. It is young writer/director Hans Weingartner's second film, featuring actor Daniel Bruhl in a lead role after the resounding international success of Goodbye Lenin! (2003), a movie about young people coming to terms with 'post-wall' Germany.

Bruhl plays Jan, a twenty-something political activist in cahoots with best friend Peter (Stipe Erceg). They spend many a night absurdly 'rearranging' the houses of the rich as a political statement about the nature of capitalism, wealth and possessions. Their policy is to never use violence or steal. Their act – and message – must remain pure if they are to remain true to their cause: a fairer world for all. Their situation becomes complicated when Peter's girlfriend Jule (rising German star Julia Jentsch) and Jan find a mutual attraction once he reveals the true nature of his and Peter's nightly 'sojourns'. After a rearranging raid on a businessman's mansion goes horribly wrong, the three kidnap him, only to find they've bitten off more than they can chew.

The Edukators
flows well and is filled with conversations about idealism and the state of the world from both the younger and older character's points of view. It possesses a certain freedom of style which makes it very easy to watch, although on face value it might be easy to hold it up to ridicule, given The Edukators becomes a balancing act between political activism with a romantic love story. The ideological questions and uncertainty that eventuate may be considered too 'light on' for those who prefer their political movies more 'khaki' and defined. Weingartner presents our three protagonists Jan, Jule and Peter as modern-day idealists caught in the shadow of the baby-boomer generation of hippies and political activists. But he is no naif – Weingartner is aware of the political ironies at play in his freewheeling script, and retains control over the material, which climaxes in a bit of a killer ending.

Ultimately, The Educators is left open for us to see the young idealists as either indulgent middle class dilettantes, or that their unwavering optimism in the future might just be something to aspire towards or indeed even make happen.

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2 hours 4 min

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