DIRECTOR: ILKER CATAK STARRING: LEONIE BENESCH, LEONARD STETTNISCH, EVA LOBAU, MICHAEL KLAMMER RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 38 MINUTES
When one of her students is suspected of theft, teacher Carla Nowak decides to get to the bottom of the matter. Caught between her ideals and the school system, the consequences of her actions threaten to break her.
“We must refrain from any accusation, suspicion or prejudice.”
The Teachers’ Lounge is the International Feature submission for Germany. Director Ilker Catak’s latest film is a physiological warfare set in a classroom led by teacher, Carla Nowak. The film is set in a school where the've been having problems with theft and the other teachers and staff have reached their limit. They think it’s one of the students in Ms. Nowak’s class.
Two kids in Carla’s class are thus interrogated to see if they know anything about the crimes and they, after some resistance, accuse a student named Ali. Having her doubts, Ms. Nowak begins an investigation on her own to see if she can find the culprit. And what she finds out begins a catastrophic set of events that results in life altering consequences.
This powerful film touches the themes of authority, power, justice, judgement and truth. What starts out as a story about theft turns into something bigger. The Teachers’ Lounge isn’t a film to find out who committed the crime. It isn’t a film to find out who’s innocent or guilty. It’s about the actions of people and the spiralling effects that it has on everyone it reaches.
In this situation, if what happened in the teachers’ lounge actually stayed in the teachers’ lounge, things could've been resolved. But as things go, rumours have a way of branching out so that eventually it reaches everyone, in this case the students, the teachers, the staff and the parents. Everyone has their own opinions. Everyone has their own versions of the truth. And more importantly, everyone is convinced that they are right. This begins a cycle of lots of talk while nothing is being said. Questions remain unanswered and everyone involved is angry about the unsatisfactory resolution to the problem. Despite having the best intentions, some situations are practically impossible to resolve.
If you’ve got nothing to hide, then you’ve got nothing to fear. If only that was the case. In some instances, there’s just no winning.