24 September, 2008

Word of Mouth: "Die Welle" ("The Wave")

"A high school teacher's unusual experiment to demonstrate to his students what life is like under a dictatorship spins out of control."

Firstly, I'd like to comment about the annoying American subtitles - especially as more people will probably see this in my local movie theatre than in the whole of the United States. At one point "comedy club" was translated as "Saturday Night Live". Eh? Seriously, eh? It's even more annoying as the film is brilliant and a US remake is inevitable.

The Wave is actually based on a real-life incident in the late '60s in America but the point is that it can happen anywhere at anytime to anyone. While there is a theme and a point of view, it's actually quite subtle and non-preachy - you just get lost in the story as the tension builds to the great ending.

It's psychologically true and you understand the motivations of every character. There are no heroes and villains although people do brave things and bad things. I particularly admired the speed, skill and economy of establishing the characters.

The Wave is recommended.


Lucy said...

I read this book when I was a child and we did the same experiment at my school, only with blue/brown eyes - in fact I think it's on the curriculum.

Robin Kelly said...

Lucy, it's not based on Jane Elliott's exercise but the true story of a history teacher who started off talking about discipline to his class and ended up with a massive scary situation.

Robin Kelly said...

I've just found this site which includes more details on the history and the 45 minute downloadable TV movie from 1981 on the subject.

Anonymous said...

The "remake" was done years ago, IIRC.

The Blue-eyes Brown-eyes experiment is famous, and no similar experiments are considered ethical currently.

Also, experiments with guards vs prisoners tend to have a high rate of cancellation due to these kind of effects.

Robin Kelly said...

Yes, the Stanford/Milgram experiments are interesting. I'm not sure the ethics bother me much - I've always wished I had taken part (before knowing about it), just to see how far I would go.

Although there is that TV movie (and plays) based on the teacher's experiment, a remake is based on the unique characters and story.

For instance Titanic (90s)isn't a remake of Titanic (50s) although they use the same real-life events.

Lucy said...

****** spoilers ******

I know Robin, the book I was referencing is called THE WAVE. I recall the ending in particular, he takes them into the school hall to meet their "leader" and it's a big picture of Hitler, right?

Robin Kelly said...

Oh, I see. I was connecting two different things, sorry. Although that ending isn't a spoiler for the film.

Lucy said...

Yes figured they might change it cos it's not that cinematic an ending, but you know what peeps are like for spoilers.