Herr Bachmann and his Class (2021) Jury Prize Berlinale 2021

March 1st, 2021
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Maria Speth | with Dieter Bachmann, Aynur Bal, Önder Cavdar, Schüler*innen der Klasse 6 b, Schüler*innen der Klasse 6f | Germany, Doc 217’

A teacher nearing retirement decides to do his bit for international entente cordiale in Maria Speth’s immersive look at contemporary schoolroom dynamics. In Stadtallendorf, a German city with a complex history of both excluding and integrating foreigners, genial teacher Dieter Bachmann believes that social integration starts at grass roots level, offfering his ethnically diverse pupils a welcome entree into modern Germany

Aged between twelve and fourteen, these pupils come from twelve different nations; some have not quite mastered the German language, so Bachmann adopts a kindly approach to confidence-building, eager to inspire them with a sense of curiosity for a wide range of crafts, subjects, cultures and opinions.

Teaching is not just about loving your subject – it’s about being able to convey information clearly and engagingly. And Dieter Bachmann certainly has the emotional intelligence and patience to inspire his kids helping them to understand that discussion and dialogue is the way forward when dealing with others. His vision of utopia sensitively conveyed here in by Maria Speth and her cinematographer Reinhold Vorschneider, is a testament to something quite ordinary and yet so vital for children everywhere. MT

BERLINALE | COMPETITON 2021

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