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Herr Bachmann und seine Klasse

A long-term documentary about an extraordinary teacher and his class.


Maria Speth‘s observational documentary MR BACHMANN AND HIS CLASS is three and a half hours long. The film will probably be in cinemas for just a short amount of time – despite winning the Silver Bear at the Berlinale and being well worth seeing, not just because it‘s the most striking political criticsm of the German education system since Klaus Mann‘s “Der Untertan.“ But MR BACHMANN does take two programming slots. Cinemas can only grant this through good will and calculated loss.

The film itself does need this time, and it‘s important the dive into its universe that Maria Speth presents here with great precision and love. Mr. Bachmann teaches the 6th grade at a comprehensive school in Stadtallendorf near Marburg in Northern Hessen. The small town is made up of an old city center with timbered houses, housing estates, and two big factories: an iron foundry and a sweets factory. 70% of the population have a migrant background. Dieter Bachmann is a 6th grade teacher. This is the latest possible age before the students are sorted into the German school system in order to produce homogenous groups and reduce the permeability of the social system. Dieter Bachmann is about to retire. He doesn‘t sort his students according to their grades, he rather gives everyone appreciation, friendliness, understanding, and genuine love and tries to support their abilities and help them resolve conflicts. Maria Speth‘s film captures the individual personalities in the class with the same type of care. Even if the director wants the film to be read as personal and not political: every bit of dialogue in this film is a revolt against the anti-pedagogical structure of the traditional school system.

Hannes Stein

Translation: Elinor Lewy


Deutschland 2021, 217 min
Genre: Documentary
Director: Maria Speth
Author: Maria Speth, Reinhold Vorschneider
DOP: Reinhold Vorschneider
Montage: Maria Speth
Distributor: Grandfilm
Release: 16.09.2021




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles

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