Nominated for the Academy Award for Best International Film, İlker Çatak’s gripping high school drama shows an idealistic young math teacher (the extraordinary Leonie Benesch) seeking to rectify what she reads as a miscarriage of justice, only to make matters unfathomably worse. New to her school, Ms Nowak is reluctantly drawn into the interrogation of two grade 6 class representatives after a series of thefts. They cast suspicion on a Turkish classmate, Ali, despite his proclamation of innocence even after a search turns up a surprisingly fat wallet. Convinced racism is at play, the teacher decides to set up a sting operation to uncover the true culprit.
An ethics master class, the film vividly returns us to the everyday anguish of normal school life, when even seemingly the most straightforward problem can open up a minefield of mistrust and humiliation.
Taking on the uneasy complexity of a progressive modern society, and the friction produced when pluralism and an insistence on order and obedience collide, is a bold move, and The Teachers’ Lounge pulls it off with a sense of tension that makes the whole thing play like a thriller. There’s a level on which it’s darkly funny, especially if you’ve spent time around preteens. Every time Ms. Nowak thinks she has a solution, it goes sideways, in part because you cannot count on sixth-graders to just go along with suggestions from adults.
Alissa Wilkinson, New York Times
It’s not easy to make an intense thriller about things that happen every day. But when one appears, it’s glorious. The Teacher’s Lounge is glorious. It’s probably the best thriller of this type since Uncut Gems, another movie where just watching realistic characters making bad decisions was so nerve-wracking that it made you want to crawl under your seat.
Matt Zoller Seitz, rogerebert.com
A taut and tight examination of the concept of justice folded into an absorbing character study.
Carlos Aguilar, LA Times
Leonie Benesch, Micheal Klammer, Rafael Stachoviak, Anne-Kathrin Gummich, Eva Lobau
In German with English subtitles
C.I.C.A.E. Award, Berlin 2023
Academy Award Nominee for Best International Film
Friday March 01
Saturday March 02
Sunday March 03
Monday March 04
Friday March 08
Saturday March 09
Ilker Catak, Johannes Duncker
Palawan appears to be an idyllic tropical island. Its powder-white beaches and lush forests have made it one of Asia’s hottest new tourist destinations. But for a tiny network of environmental crusaders and vigilantes trying to protect its spectacular natural resources, it is more akin to a battlefield.
Black History Month: Short Film Showcase
The four short films in this program range from humorous dark comedy to sombre drama. These films explore existential crises, beauty standards and daring ambitions in the lives of the protagonists.