The Forest for the Trees | Chicago Reader

The Forest for the Trees

The video format makes this 2003 German psychological drama all the more unsettling; it's like a cruel reality show run off the rails. A young teacher (Eva Lobau) leaves her small town for a job in Karlsruhe, where she's assigned the most unruly kids in school. Shy, awkward, and extraordinarily naive, she gloms onto a would-be sophisticate who quickly tires of her. Director Maren Ade uses long point-of-view shots and tight close-ups to map the teacher's deterioration as her classroom performance grows increasingly erratic and her new friendship becomes an all-consuming obsession. In German with subtitles.

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