Die Welle, or The Wave, is a German film that explores the consequences of having an autocratic society within the context of a classroom. During Project Week, public school instructor Rainer Wenger (played by Jürgen Vogel) creates an autocratic society in his classroom. As an experiment in psychology, he observes the effects of a group identity in each of his students.
In terms of gender roles, this film provides an interesting contrast to what we see in American cinema. As the social experiment progresses and the class, who call themselves The Wave, start to resemble The Third Reich it’s the young women of the class who begin to see how harmful it is. They begin to campaign for the end of The Wave. On the other hand, the young men in the group get caught up in the group mentality. To them, The Wave is an extension of a sports team. Indeed, as Mr. Wenger gets caught up in this movement he has created he uses the group mentality to attempt to lead his water polo team to victory.
Overall, I would give this film 4.5 stars out of five. Die Welle is a fantastic story which shows how easy it is to fall into a dictatorship; especially if you have a charismatic leader with good speaking skills. The reasoning behind this rating is simply due to the extremes that this film goes to. It is an excellent and accurate portrayal of the effects of an autocratic society. However, the tragic events at the end of the film are too much for this reviewer to stomach.