Director Iker Çatak’s “The Teachers’ Lounge” is a thought-provoking and visually stunning film that dares to take a close look at the complexities of ethics, power dynamics, and morality in an educational setting. Set in a primary school in a small town in Germany, the movie follows a talented, hyper conscious and idealistic new teacher, Carla, as she navigates the challenging landscape of teaching and uncovers a web of secrets and institutional malpractices.
Shot on film in an old-school 3:4 ratio, “The Teachers’ Lounge” boasts beautiful visuals and a raw texture that adds to the overall impact of the story. The film begins in medias res, with a palpable sense of tension already permeating the school. Money and other items have been disappearing, and suspicion is rife among the staff and students. Carla, played masterfully by Leonie Benesch, takes it upon herself to uncover the truth and discovers a shocking revelation that shakes the very foundations of the school.
The film explores how the actions of one individual can ripple through an entire community, and how even the most well-intentioned actions can have unintended consequences. One of the film’s strengths is its exploration of themes such as social responsibility, authority, prejudice, and discrimination. Carla’s journey as a teacher grappling with the challenges of working with students from diverse backgrounds is a powerful metaphor for the larger societal issues at play. The film’s portrayal of a Polish teacher’s fear of using their native language and the quick suspicion cast upon a Muslim family’s child serves as a poignant commentary on the prejudice and discrimination that unfortunately, persist in German society.
“The Teachers’ Lounge” is a fiercely told story that builds tension masterfully throughout its runtime. The film’s cinematography captures the shrinking world of Carla’s character, played expertly by Leonie Benesch, whose embodiment of the role is nothing short of tour-de-force. The cast is overall stellar, including a standout performance by young actor Leonard Stettnisch (Oskar).
“The Teachers’ Lounge” raises important questions about the state of education and society in Germany today, highlighting the diminishing prestige of teachers and the urgent need to pay greater attention to the needs of children. I doubt it is a coincidence that last year three movies premiered at three prestigious festivals howling for the importance of paying attention to the youngest generations’ needs and psychological development – this includes: Explanation for Everything, Anatomy of a Fall and The Teachers’ Lounge.
It is a timely and relevant film that speaks to the current discourse surrounding education, ethics, and social responsibility. In a world where the toxicity of society can take a toll on the most vulnerable, “The Teachers’ Lounge” stands out as a poignant and timely examination of the challenges faced by conscious adults, parents, and teachers.
„The Teachers’ Lounge” is now playing at theaters.
~ by Dora Endre ~