The Teachers’ Lounge
Leonie Benesch, Eva Löbau, Leonard Stettnisch, Michael Klammer,
The classroom serves as a microcosm for society at large in this gripping drama from German director İlker Çatak. Leonie Benesch is superb as Carla, a middle-school teacher who believes she can make a difference in her students’ lives. When an innocent boy faces accusations in a series of thefts, Carla decides to investigate further, leading to a split-second decision that brings her idealism crashing down. Çatak’s nuanced story examines racism and bureaucracy, exploring all the ways in which our institutional foundations fail those most in need. But Benesch’s brittlely brilliant performance twists the knife further, hinting at how even the well-intentioned can cause harm, their seemingly noble actions creating unimagined repercussions. Featuring Marvin Miller’s nerve-jangling score, Çatak’s incisive character study isn’t a thriller, per se, but it puts you through an emotional and moral wringer—not to mention delivering a reminder about the challenges and heartaches teachers face every single day.