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
The students are repeating a play, in which only "The Wave" students have roles after Karo is fired. In this play, 'Der Besuch der alten Dame' by Friedrich Durenmatt, an old woman who was exiled from her village by her fellow inhabitants comes back after many years. Having lost her billionaire husband and inherited his wealth, she has her revenge by leading all the villagers to kill her former lover who didn't help her. One of the themes is the group action and how people lose their personalities in a group. This mirrors the teacher's experience, who lead people into acting and losing personalities. See more »
The way the word "Autokratie" is written on the black board changes between shots. See more »
The Wave rides high (pun intended) on the new wave of film makers from Germany. The movie itself is shaped like a proverbial wave, starts gently and slowly gathers momentum and before you know it it turns into a powerhouse. The movie will amuse you, frighten you, disturb you and enthrall you completely.
The movie takes a lesson in human psychology and shows how it is possible for a person with oratory skills and confidence to start a movement that turns into a revolution with frightening possibilities. It explains a lot about world history and current affairs.
Theme apart, I don't usually like to discuss any movie's story but I suppose if you're here you would've read the other reviews and summaries and would know a fair bit already. Putting it mildly, the movie deals with a classroom experiment about autocracy which has interesting positive and negative consequences.
The direction is sharp and spot on. The director is able to delve deeply into the minds of the various characters and explain their behaviour and position in the society that is created. It is all done realistically. The acting by and large is very good; however a few of the actors displayed a scope for further improvement. However this does not take away much from the movie experience. There are certain similarities with another great German film, Das Experiment, but not many.
I am certainly going to suggest this film to people I know including people who live on a staple of Hollywood blockbusters and like to keep away from festival films. So if you get the opportunity to watch it, please do.
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