February 2004. Luca, Marwin, Dennis, Johanna, Christian and 15 other kids meet at the beginning of the first term at the Fläming School in Berlin. They belong to the class 5d, the school’s remedial class, where students of extremely different abilities learn together. Four of the children are classified as disabled, from learning disorders to severely handicapped, and are not graded. The class has two supervisors, some subject teachers and the class teacher, Mrs. Haase. She is considered strict, but fair. Her great love is theater.
At eye level with the children, the director Hubertus Siegert takes part in the adventure of a school semester. Achievements and conflicts, fun and tears, wit and hardships, rivalries and friendships flash across the various stories that together form the moving image of a multi-layered and exciting universe of its own: a class life.
A play is rehearsed, but who plays the lead role? The children prepare papers in highly heterogeneous working groups. Alone I am a faster learner, says one, and realises how hard it is to pass on their own lead to the other. Not every day, the school is fun. Homework is forgotten, tears shed after the unjust exam. Dictation means stress, and I do not want to sit next to it. During the break, you play “boys catch girls” or jump over a breakneck chain of satchels.
School, that’s not just teaching and learning. One laughs, is sad, makes nonsense, is afraid, plays, fights, gives small and trumps big; alone and, this is what matters most in this school, together. At the end the children celebrate the birthday of a classmate. She suffers from an incurable disease, can not move or speak and is still a living part of this class community.
Hubertus Siegert does not explain a pedagogical concept, but observes the everyday life of eleven-year-olds outside of the usual sorting out in high school, real, main and special school with great attention and sympathy, without sentimental transfiguration or educational forefingers: no PISA debate but an exciting and moving adventure full of passions, moments of happiness and catastrophes, aha experiences, expectations and insights. In the affectionate closeness to its protagonists, class life opens up a strangely forgotten world that is quite different, quite present.
|Release date:||1 September 2005|
|Language:||German (available with English subtitles)|
|Runtime:||Feature documentary: 87 minutes, television: 52 minutes|
|Written, directed & produced by:||Hubertus Siegert|
|Director of photography:||Armin Fausten|
|Produced by:||S.U.M.O. Film|
|Distributed by:||Piffl Medien GmbH|