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  • Writer's pictureSteve

The Teacher's Lounge (Das Lehrerzimmer) (2023)

From Spain's Oscar nomination for Best International Film, we move to the German offering, The Teacher's Lounge, a tense and dramatic delve into the life of 7th grade children's teacher, Carla (Leonie Benesch), when one her class is accused of stealing.

Carla is a well-intentioned teacher, determined and focused in her role, but events at school transpire to curtail the order in her life and despite her protestations, we can see she is becoming slowly overwhelmed.

As a character study, this is deftly handled as circumstances around Carla swirl and morph over a short period of time and her unravelling is evident supported by a score that just makes you itch all over. As a viewer, you are overtly aware that the crescendo is building and as events merge, the cinematography is working overtime to keep up with the script, which is perfunctory, accusatory and aggressive in tone and delivery (you may already know of my lack of affinity with the german tongue). The performances are very strong with deliberate direction to heighten the admittedly domestic unease.

In summary, this is a simple tale with overarching elements that are blended seamlessly together, which could easily have become chaotic, if not for the tight grasp writer/director Ilker Çatak has on it. The anti-climax of its ending will disappoint many, I imagine, that will see it as lacking any kind of real closure after the whirlwind of the previous hour and a half.

Nonetheless, this is worth a watch, certainly, but just shy of what I would suggest as 'recommended' viewing, unless like me, you are something of an awards completionist.

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