VIFF: Oscar-Nominated German Movie & Actress

The Teacher's Lounge 

The Teacher's Lounge, © Alamode Film/Entertainment Pictures/ZUMAPRESS.com


The Teachers' Lounge / Lehrerzimmer

Nominated for the Academy Award for Best International Film, İlker Çatak’s gripping high school drama shows an idealistic young math teacher (the extraordinary Leonie Benesch) seeking to rectify what she reads as a miscarriage of justice, only to make matters unfathomably worse. New to her school, Ms Nowak is reluctantly drawn into the interrogation of two grade 6 class representatives after a series of thefts. They cast suspicion on a Turkish classmate, Ali, despite his proclamation of innocence even after a search turns up a surprisingly fat wallet. Convinced racism is at play, the teacher decides to set up a sting operation to uncover the true culprit.

An ethics master class, the film vividly returns us to the everyday anguish of normal school life, when even seemingly the most straightforward problem can open up a minefield of mistrust and humiliation.

İlker Çatak | Germany | 2023 | In German with English subtitles | 19+ | 94 min

Screening times & tickets

Anatomy of a Fall

German actress Sandra Hüller has been nominated for an Oscar for her leading role in the French drama “Anatomy of a Case”.
Justine Triet became only the third woman to win the top prize at Cannes, the Palme d’Or, for this engrossing psychological mystery thriller. In Anatomy of a Fall, when Samuel is found dead outside his alpine cabin it’s clear he plunged from the attic window. But did he jump, or was he pushed? The physical evidence is inconclusive, but the widow, Sandra looks eminently suspicious to the French authorities: she’s a prickly German novelist, and there is a recording of a violent argument she had with Samuel just the day before his death. The only other witness who might shed some light on the case is the couple’s visually impaired ten-year-old son. But as the trial proceeds, his faith in his mom’s innocence is shaken.

Triet (who cowrote the screenplay with her life partner, Arthur Harari) proves there is still life in the courtroom drama. The film follows twin tracks: the nitty gritty interpretation of the evidence (which as the title suggests, hinges on the fall itself), and concurrently an anatomy of Sandra and Samuel’s marriage, which, in his absence, largely becomes an interrogation of her moral character. Layered and complex, this is compelling drama with a knockout performance from Sandra Hüller (Toni Erdmann).

Justine Triet | France | 2023 | In French with English subtitles | 19+ | 152 min

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