MR. BACHMANN AND HIS CLASS
The bond between an unorthodox teacher and his multicultural class of students is explored in this absorbing and inspiring documentary from German filmmaker Maria Speth.
65-year-old Dieter Bachmann is a longtime teacher at Georg Büchner School, an institution in the industrial town of Stadtallendorf. His class, comprised of 12 to 14-year-olds, represents a cross-section of modern, globalized Germany, with students who hail from different countries, practice different faiths, and have varying grasps of the German language. Bridging these differences, Mr. Bachmann aims to create a unified home in his classroom, where he encourages his students to be inquisitive and open to the fascinating world around them. Mr. Bachmann’s methods are unconventional—frequently involving musical jam sessions—but he never condescends to his young pupils, prompting them to ponder heady topics and consider big questions. Director Maria Speth employs a patient, observational style reminiscent of the great Frederick Wiseman, allowing the film to unspool gradually and encouraging viewers to immerse themselves in the daily rhythms of the classroom. With its unsentimental yet affectionate look at one man’s earnest efforts to support and uplift his students, the film is a lovely tribute to the importance of education and inclusion.
In Competition: Documentary Feature
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