THE EDUKATORS (Hans Weingartner). Subtitled. 126 minutes. Opens Friday (October 7). For venues and times, see Movies, page 99. Rating: NN Rating: NN
The title The Edukators is an attempt to kick a little German aggression into a soft-boiled English word, but instead it gives the game away. The film is as juvenile as its spelling.
It's a fetching premise, though. Jule, her boyfriend Peter and their friend Jan are young Berlin idealists who protest against sweatshops and seriously dream of smashing the state. Peter and Jan throw a little Dada into their dissent, breaking into rich peoples' homes and rearranging the furniture to unsettle them. They leave behind slogans like "Your days of plenty are numbered" (the film's original, German title). But when Jule and Jan invade the home of a rich pig Jule already knows, things go wrong and suddenly they've kidnapped a capitalist.
As a narrative, The Edukators frequently falls slack, letting Peter, Jan and the businessman hash out political debates that last felt urgent 30 years ago. Not one of these kids has a thought that couldn't be ground to dust by Christopher Hitchens. That's not good.
Worse, even though Daniel Brühl from Goodbye Lenin! plays Jan, none of these characters generates much empathy. These edukators seem blind to the real social injustice faced by Turks in Germany, for instance.
And not to belabour this, but "edukator" is a Polish word, not German.