The German Lesson



Director: Christian Schwochow

Country: Germany

Release: 2019

Language: DCP / Color / 125′

German with Turkish and English subtitles

Cast: Ulrich Noethen, Tobias Moretti, Levi Eisenblätter, Johanna Wokalek, Sonja Richter, Maria Dragus, Tom Gronau, Louis Hofmann

Germany, just after the Second World War. Siggi Jepsen, a young man in juvenile detention, has to write an essay on “The Joys Of Duty”. He can’t get started, the paper stays blank. When he has to repeat the exercise the next day, this time in a cell as punishment, he writes his memories like a man possessed. Memories of his father Jens Ole Jepsen, a police officer who was one of the authorities in a small, north-German village and dedicated himself totally to the duties of office. During the war he had to deliver a ban on painting to his childhood friend, the Expressionist artist Max Ludwig Nansen, imposed on him by the National Socialists. He oversees it meticulously and Siggi, 11-years-old, is told to help him. But Nansen resists – and likewise builds on Siggi’s help, who is like a son for him. The two men’s conflict continually escalates – and Siggi stands between them. Fitting in or resistance? This becomes the decisive question for Siggi.