Dennis Gansel: “Die Welle” (2008)

May 8, 2011 at 7:20 pm (Random thoughts)

I really enjoyed watching this film. After the first ten minutes I couldn’t help asking myself: If the “abominable political regime” called communism would be implemented again in Romania, having in mind that the population is now aware of its flaws and its long-term tragic consequences (heck, they witnessed them firsthand), would people even realise that/what it’s being implemented? The answer is, of course, no. This film explains exactly why: because 25 years ago, when communism was abolished, we actually treated the symptom, not the cause of the society’s real infection. The problem is still there, latent, waiting to explode.  But identifying the issues of society was not what I had in mind when I started writing this post.

There was something in this film that I didn’t agree with, and to be more specific, its end. Actually I was completely shocked when I saw that a man who dared to break the silence and prove the fact that there was indeed something wrong with us all was eventually imprisoned. I mean, he was charged with what? With showing to some people that they have no ability to analyse a situation and to make a decision on their own? After all, Herr Wegner didn’t kill that student; he didn’t even suggest him to commit suicide, he never forced anyone to do anything, and what’s even more ironic, his lecture was optional…. Rainer Wegner’s imprisonment at the end of this film was the ultimate proof that no one learned anything from this experiment.

Some say that the film is “unrealistic” because everything happened too fast and was too extreme – the action takes place during a week. I reckon that the week in question is merely a symbol, and I tend to perceive the days of the week (clearly delimited in the film) as the end of a stage and the beginning of another within the whole process of implementation of ‘dictatorship’.

Another subtlety was contained in the scene where the students chose the name of their group. There was a brainstorming where only the ideas of those abiding by the rules of the group have been taken into consideration. At a certain point, Karo came up with the name “die Veränderers (eng. those who change)” and everybody else in that room rejected her idea. Pretty reluctant to the idea of change, I’d say.

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