What a brilliant film! Last night in Swindon we showed “Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei” as part of our regular socialist film club screenings. It is marketed in English as “The Edukators”. About 19 or 20 people came along, with some younger folk, but also some established activists, and there was a good discussion afterwards. I cannot praise this film enough.
The first thing to say is that it is genuinely entertaining, with witty dialogue, an unusual storyline, and absolutely magical acting. You can view a trailer here (without subtitles) English language trailers (well subtitles anyway) can be seen here. The scenes in the mountains also remind you what a staggeringly beautiful country Germany is. The film deals with three young anti-capitalist activists, who have an imaginative and downright illegal way of waging the class struggle, based upon individual direct action. As they say: “Jedes Herz ist eine revolutionäre Zelle” (Every heart is a revolutionary cell.)
One of the good things about the movie is that is shows both the exhilaration and risk involved in direct action, but also reveals how the logic of events take the participants further than they want to go. It also interweaves an extremely moving and well acted love-triangle story, though I did get a literal sense of déjà vu seeing the brilliant Daniel Brühl playing exactly the same scene with a girl and bottle of wine on a Berlin rooftop as he did in “Goodbye Lenin!”
In an amusing example of life imitating art, the film has actually inspired direct action against the rich in Germany, as reported in Indymedia. (see also the report in the newspaper front page shown here)
There is also a peculiarly German theme developed about the changing role of generations, and the responsibility the older generation have for the world we live in. The obscenely rich businessman with whom they develop a relationship reveals that he used to be a leading member of the socialist SDS when he was a youth. This allows the film to include some quite convincing debate about the individual responsibility for capitalists for the state of the world, which comes over as genuine and uncontrived. (a very considerable achievement!)