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Herr Bachmann und Seine Klasse
Germany, 2021, 217'
Maria Speth
German with Turkish and English subtitles

Mr. Bachmann and His Class is an intimate documentary portraying the bond between an elementary school teacher and his students. His unconventional methods clash with the complex social and cultural realities of the provincial German industrial town they live in.
Where does one feel at home? In Stadtallendorf, a German city with a complex history of both excluding and integrating foreigners, genial teacher Dieter Bachmann offers his pupils the key to at least feeling as if they are at home. Aged between twelve and fourteen, these pupils come from twelve different nations; some have not quite mastered the German language. On the brink of retirement, Bachmann is eager to inspire these citizens-in-the-making with a sense of curiosity for a wide range of crafts, subjects, cultures and opinions. Watching this absorbing, sensitive documentary, one is overwhelmed with the realisation that, if only all children were blessed with such emotionally intelligent, ever-patient educators, a conflict would be mitigated via discussion and John Lennon’s “Imagine” could be our reality. Those who, like filmmaker Maria Speth and her cinematographer Reinhold Vorschneider, are able to recognise and highlight so beautifully not only the importance of education but also what a quietly spectacular process it can be, are heroes in their own right, too.