Class Enemy and the Tragedy of Generational Misunderstanding

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“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou

Most of us have come in contact with someone who changed the course of our life, at some time or other during our school years. Yet it may not always be the most lovable, kindest professor who had the biggest impact on our choices, career or how we turned out. Sometimes, hidden within the hard shell of the strictest disciplinarian or the most critical teacher, lies the key to our success. Personally, to all those who provoked and challenged me I owe my gratitude, because trying to prove someone wrong can be incredibly creative.

In his latest film Class Enemy, Slovenian filmmaker Rok Biček explores the impact an unlikable teacher has on his German class. When one student commits suicide, the abyss of generational distrust and miscommunication divides Robert, the teacher, played by the stoic and at times gloriously unpleasant Igor Samobor, from his pupils. The result brings the audience on a journey of self-discovery, lived right along with the students’ and guided by their insightful teacher. Class Enemy went on to win Best Film for 2013 in the International Film Critics’ Week in Venice.

The story is based on true events Biček experienced in grammar school, when, he says “a third-year girl committed suicide [and] this was followed by a spontaneous rebellion by her classmates, against the school system and teachers.” But at the center of his masterful film, which blends cool tinted cinematography with impulsive acting and important themes, lies not the reason for the girl’s suicide, rather an interpretation of what he calls “the classic pattern of revolutions, which need a common enemy to bring the group together.”

Read the whole article on the Huffington Post.

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