One of the buzziest titles at Berlin this year, 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.
C.I.C.A.E. Award, Berlin 2023
Leonie Benesch, Leonard Stettnisch, Eva Lobau, Micheal Klammer Anne-Kathrin Gummich
In German with English subtitles
Ilker Catak, Johannes Duncker
İlker Çatak was born in Berlin in 1984 and, the son of Turkish immigrants. He completed a master’s degree in directing at the Hamburg Media School. In 2017, Çatak made his first feature film, Es War Einmal Indianerland, the adaptation of the award-winning novel for young people by Nils Mohl. This was followed in 2019 by Es Gilt Das Gesprochene Wort. In 2021, the filmmaker adapted Finn-Ole Heinrich’s successful novel Rauberhande.
Filmography: Once Upon a Time… Indianerland (2017); I Was, I Am, I Will Be (2019); Stambul Garden (2021)
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