For two weeks, 20 male participants are hired to play prisoners and guards in a prison. The "prisoners" have to follow seemingly mild rules, and the "guards" are told to retain order without using physical violence.
High school teacher, Rainer Wegner, may be popular with the students, but he's also unorthodox. He's forced to teach autocracy for the school's project week. He's less than enthusiastic at first, but the response of the students is surprising to say the least. He forces the students to become more invested in the prospect of self rule, and soon the class project has its own power and eerily starts to resemble Germany's past. Can Wegner and his class realize what's happening before the horrors start repeating themselves? Written by
Much like Napola, the film was partly inspired by Gansel's grandfather, with whom Gansel had a lot of fights when young because his grandfather used to tell him he was supportive of the Nazi government when they where in power. It was not until Gansel's grandfather told him of his ambition to become an artist - which family poverty could only avail him towards joining the National Political Academy (NAPOLA) instead - that Gansel understood the lure of fascism was all about seduction and psychology. This laid the basis for the film and its themes. See more »
Although set somewhere in western Germany, all policemen wear insignia of the state of Berlin. See more »
Come on, there must be one autocracy you all heard about?
No, not again...
I did not choose this either, but we have to get through this week. I will copy some papers...
No, not this shit again!
It's an important subject!
The Nazis sucked, we get it!
Those fucking Nazis!
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Opening and closing credits appear as graffiti. See more »
Die Welle (The Wave) is truly a brilliant tale that lures viewers into its cleverly developed plot just as Herr Wenger lures his unsuspecting students into a sense of fascism. When Wenger, an affable schoolteacher who seems to be rebellious towards traditional instruction, gets selected to teach a class on autocracy, he is upset. However, he soon devises a plan with which to teach the students a valuable lesson on the sheer dangers of fascism and the ease with which one can be lured into it.
His class starts out simple and nonthreatening. The students choose Wenger as their leader and are instructed to wear a uniform and create a name for themselves (the students choose Die Welle "The Wave"). But, this club slowly turns into a sort of fascist regime. The unsuspecting students think they are participating in some sort of fun club, but they are really being shown how easily impressionable people can be attracted by autocracy.
The biting irony of this film is that at the beginning of the autocracy class, Wenger touched on the subject of Hitler's reign, and the students almost instinctively spit out answers about how Germany would never fall into that trap again knowing what they know now. But, the children soon eat their words when they become members of a much less disturbing, yet frighteningly similar clique.
There is a glimmer of this fact when two students who aren't members of "The Wave" pick on a student who is. Two other members come to the rescue of the victim. Though many may view this as a positive aspect of this sort of togetherness, the point is that fascism has developed and can easily become corrupt.
I highly recommend this to any potential viewer who either holds the same views as the students at the beginning of the film or simply wants to be entertained by the ironic theme of the film (so long as you don't mind the subtitles).
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