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  • Mr. Bachmann And His Class ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆

Film

Mr. Bachmann And His Class ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆

German documentary filmmaking at its best

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Herr Bachmann (Berlinale)

This year’s Competition selection was an impressive showcase of quality German films, and nowhere is this better seen than with the winner of the Jury prize, Maria Speth’s Herr Bachman Und Seine Klasse (Mr. Bachmann And His Class). It is an expansive yet intimate observational documentary that will delight fans of Laurent Cantet’s Palme d’Or-winning Entre Les Murs, and answers the question “What if Frederick Wiseman had directed School Of Rock?”

It looks at the classroom as a microcosm of German society, following a defiant 65-year-old teacher, Dieter Bachmann, in the small German city of Stadtallendorf in the state of Hesse, and his work with first- and second-generation immigrant pre-teen pupils. It’s a window into the German educational system, as well as a powerfully moving exercise in empathy that addresses the essential place of multi-ethnicism in the face of nationalist oppression.

Don’t be discouraged by its runtime (it clocks in at nearly four hours): the journey is full of heart and humanity, and is worth every minute.

Screening at the Berlinale Summer Special on:

June 17 @ Freiluftkino Museumsinsel

June 18 @ Freiluftkino Friedrichshain

June 20 @ Freiluftkino Pompeji