Thursday, September 17, 2009

DIE WELLE
(THE WAVE)

Cine Europa
Cinema 1, Shang Cineplex



Of all the films showing at Cine Europa this year, I was really looking forward to watching this German movie. Based on a true story, it delves on fascism and dictatorship. It narrates how a simple experiment for project week conceptualized by a teacher in a high school spins out of control and takes over the lives of his students.

During an open discussion in his autocracy class, Rainer Wenger is intrigued by a statement from one of his students that dictatorship would never thrive again in Germany. He then devices a plan to prove them wrong. From letting his students wear a uniform for class, designing a logo and calling themselves members of The Wave - the concept evolves from a simple class experiment into a form of supremacy for its members who adopt a superiority complex against outsiders (the other students who aren't part of their group).

A compelling and highly provocative film that makes an effective point. The propensity of the youth to be easily swayed by any higher authority into extremist political views. The unruly bunch of students were at first hesitant and even skeptical about the experiment which started on a Monday. But by the end of the week, their zealous enthusiasm took over with some of them even claiming that "The Wave" gave more meaning to their otherwise boring life. Unfortunately, the experiment goes horribly wrong with tragic consequences.

The movie is entirely in German with English subtitles and it runs for about 1 hour and 4o minutes. Almost 2 hours filed with enough tension amidst dramatic sequences yet it doesn't appear to adopt a preachy tone. It simply and effectively explores human nature. It makes us see how easy it is to create the conditions that appeal especially to the weak, the disenfranchised, the unloved by giving them a sense of being empowered and how their resentment can become a deadly weapon.

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