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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
The Edukators (Fetten Jahre Sind Vorbei, Die) (2004)

The Edukators (Fetten Jahre Sind Vorbei, Die) (2004)

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Released 8-Feb-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Teaser Trailer
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Trailer-Rossenstrasse, Angela, Remember Me, The Return
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 124:08
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (76:20) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Hans Weingartner

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Daniel Brühl
Julia Jentsch
Stipe Erceg
Burghart Klaußner
Peer Martiny
Petra Zieser
Laura Schmidt
Sebastian Butz
Oliver Bröcker
Knut Berger
Hanns Zischler
Claudio Caiolo
Bernhard Bettermann
Case ?
RPI $34.95 Music Andreas Wodraschke

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.75:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The Edukators is the low budget second feature from German director Hans Weingartner. This is an interesting but ultimately flawed film which has been shot entirely on handheld digital video and using only natural light. Given that many of the scenes are shot in quite low light levels the technique may annoy some.

    Pete and Jan (a male) are the “Edukators”. They break into the homes of the affluent and rearrange their furniture and leave messages such as “You are too rich!”. Pete’s girlfriend Jule is having financial problems. A few years earlier she crashed her car into a S-class Mercedes and has been paying off a €100,000 (euro) debt every since. While helping Jule clean up her apartment in order to hand it back to the landlord, Jan begins to have feelings for her. While out driving later, Jan reveals to Jule what Pete and himself do as the “Edukators”. Jule persuades Jan to take her to see the house of the owner of the car she crashed into. While there she convinces him to break into the house with her to give the homeowner an “edukation”. The next day she realises she has left her mobile phone at the house and they must go back there to retrieve it. While there, Hardenberg, the homeowner and owner of the car, unexpectedly returns home. Panicking, they kidnap Hardenberg. Together with Pete they take him to a remote cabin and must find a way to release Hardenberg, yet avoid going to prison.

    The performances from the three leads, Daniel Brühl (Jan), Julia Jentsch (Jule) and Stipe Erceg (Pete), are well done. Especially good was Julia Jentsch who has one of the most developed characters in the film and is able to simultaneously portray someone who is both fragile and sensitive while also possessing a real inner strength. Burghart Klaußner as Hardenberg is also very good, producing a character who is likeable but one whose motivations are not always clear. Is he sympathising with his captors because he has a sincere empathy for their cause or is he just manipulating them to save his own skin?

    One of the things that really hurts this film is a lack of discipline in the editing room. Running at over two hours long, this film overstays its welcome by about 30 minutes and most of the bloat occurs in the first half of the film. For instance, there is a scene showing Jan watching a house from within a minivan through the use of surveillance equipment. A short time later Jan takes Jule out for a drive and shows her the same equipment and explains the setup. When she suggests that they should break into the house of the man she owes money to he explains that he has to stake out the houses for days ahead of time. This all makes the first scene completely redundant. It does not drive along the plot, introduce any information nor give us any specific insight into a character. Anybody who has watched the deleted scenes of a reasonable number of DVDs will know that very good scenes often have to be removed in order to maintain the pace of a film. It is the mark of a good director that they are able to make the hard decision to cut a perfectly good scene in order to benefit the overall good of the film. Unfortunately Hans Weingartner does not seem to have the maturity or discipline to do this, which is a real shame. There are many scenes that are ultimately redundant to the overall film or are overly long. Given that the film really needed to be about 30 minutes shorter this is very disappointing. Tightly edited this could have been a really terrific film.

    Another weakness of this film is the rather poor character development. The only character we really get to know is Jule. The relationship between Jule and Pete is only established by the fact that we see them in bed together at the beginning of the film and it would have been nice to learn a bit more about the dynamics of their relationship. This might then have given the viewer more mixed feelings about the blossoming relationship between Jule and Jan. One gets the impression the director feared the audience might have reacted against Jule for cheating on Pete had we cared more about Pete and his relationship with Jule. In fact, Pete’s character is the least formed of all the main characters in the film and it seems to have been intentionally done so that we as the audience will be rooting for Jule and the more likeable Jan.

    This film has been criticised as left wing propaganda by some. This probably could have been somewhat avoided had the director shown a bit more balance and shown other viewpoints. As it is we have no fewer than three scenes of extended dialogue where the characters espouse their extreme socialist ideology of the world and the only counterpoint to this comes from the character of Hardenberg whose arguments are weak and who ends up actually agreeing with his kidnappers' point of view.

    I also found the ending a bit disappointing. It seemed like the filmmakers were having the same problems as the on-screen kidnappers and simply didn’t know how to bring this all together in the end. What we ultimately get seemed cheap and a bit clichéd.

    I really believe this could have been an outstanding film. Most of the ingredients are right there on the screen, however a lack of discipline in the editing room, combined with the poorly formed characters, prevent this film from rising above average. Don’t get me wrong - this is good film. The second half is particularly engaging as the kidnappers begin to know and like their abductee and debate amongst themselves how to deal with the situation. This combined with the complications of Jule’s relationships with both Pete and Jan makes this enjoyable viewing. I just feel this film could have been so much better overall. This DVD is a Rental only release and is not a bad way to spend an evening at home.

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Transfer Quality


    Shot on Digital Video, this transfer is quite good but the limitations of Digital Video are very much in evidence here.

    The film is presented at an aspect ration of 1.73:1. I was unable to confirm the original theatrical aspect ratio but I think it is reasonable to assume it was 1.85:1. This transfer is 16x9 enhanced.

    Image detail varies from quite sharp to very soft. This is probably a symptom of the low budget film making and some poor camera focus. Image detail was reasonable but obviously limited by the source. Shadow detail was very good which is one of the strengths of digital video. According to the official website of the film (, it was partially for the strength of digital video's low light level performance that it was selected for this film. Mild Edge Enhancement is a bit of an issue and present throughout the transfer. I can’t be sure if this has been introduced into the transfer or is an artefact of the digital video format. Low level noise was not an issue.

    Colours are generally very good and quite vibrant at times which was a bit of a surprise. Often digital video can have quite poor colour but this is thankfully not an issue here.

    MPEG artefacts are kept nicely under control, although some poorly lit scenes do have a rather grainy appearance. Aliasing was not observed.

    The image is completely free of dirt and other film artefacts which leads me to believe this transfer may have been done from the original digital source.

    English subtitles are burnt onto the image. They are white and easy to read although from my limited high school German it was apparent that they sometimes paraphrased what was actually being said on screen.

    The transfer is presented on a dual-layered disc with RSDL formatting. The layer change occurs at 76:20 at a cut between scenes.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio does seems to suffer a little from the low budget nature of the film and often sounds a bit like a home video. I did however adjust to this and by the end it really didn’t bother me much.

    The soundtrack is presented as a German Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s.

    The dialogue was reasonably easy to understand most of the time but did seem to suffer a bit from the low budge nature of the film. In some locations the sound features quite a bit of echo and extraneous background noise which sometimes muffled the dialogue a bit. I didn’t notice any audio sync issues although I was probably paying more attention to the subtitles and not always watching the actors' lips.

    The music in the movie is mostly high energy pop songs. I felt that the balance here was not very good. The songs were significantly louder than the rest of the soundtrack and felt uncomfortably loud when the volume was set at a reasonable level for the rest of the soundtrack.

    The surround channels are used quite well to add atmosphere to the soundtrack. A scene near the beginning of the film at 5:16 inside a van that is being attacked by a crowd of people was especially effective. The banging and other noises of the protestors surround the listener very effectively.

    The subwoofer was also well used, especially for the previously mentioned high energy pop songs. It was also used very well at 52:20 to build tension when an alarm goes off in a home they have broken into.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The extras consist only of a few trailers and a photo gallery.


    Before getting to the main menu you are forced to sit through the film industry's “Piracy. It’s a Crime” commercial. The menus contain static images but are 16x9 enhanced and contain music from the film.

Theatrical Trailer (1:38)

    Letterboxed theatrical trailer. Presented in German with English Subtitles. It is not 16x9 enhanced.

Teaser Trailers (1:39)

    A slightly bizarre series of short teaser trailers which appear to contain vintage footage of wealthy businessmen engaged in various activities. These end with various catch-phrases from the film. Presented in German but without any subtitles. They are not 16x9 enhanced.

Photo Gallery

    This appears to simply be a series of screen shots taken directly from the film.

Other Trailers

    Theatrical trailers for Rossenstrasse, Angela, Remember Me and The Return.


    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This film has not yet been released in Region 1. The UK Region 2 release contains only the theatrical trailer. There is a German release which apparently contains a commentary, a making of and deleted scenes although I was unable to find specific details of it in English and could not confirm if it contains English subtitles. Assuming it contains English subtitles (or if you don't need them), this would be the version of choice. UPDATE: The German version does NOT contain English subtitles. Unless you speak German then the Region 4 is the version of choice at the time of writing.


    The Edukators is a film with a lot of potential but one that is let down by poor character development and a lack of discipline in the editing room by second time director Hans Weingartner.

    The Video transfer is quite good but limited by the source material

    The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is quite dynamic but with poorly balanced music.

    The extras consist of a few trailers and a photo gallery.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Gauntlett (read my bio if you're bored.)
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVPNS575-S Progressive Scan, using Component output
DisplaySony KVDR29M31 68cm PROGRESSIVE SCANNING. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderLogitech 5500 THX. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationLogitech 5500 THX
SpeakersLogitech 5500 THX

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