Hans Weingartner – Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei aka The Edukators [+extras] (2004)
The Edukators (German: Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei) is a German-Austrian film made by the Austrian director Hans Weingartner and released in 2004. Nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, it stars Daniel Brühl, Stipe Erceg and Julia Jentsch.
The original German title, Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei translates literally as “the fat years are over”. Die fetten Jahre is a German expression originating from the story of Joseph in Egypt as found in the Luther Bible, meaning a period in which one enjoys considerable success and indulges oneself heavily. The official translation of the statement as used in the film and the subtitle to the English-language release was “Your days of plenty are numbered.”
The film was generally well received by critics. Based on 74 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an overall approval rating from critics of 69%, with an average score of 6.5/10. By comparison, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, calculated an average score of 68, based on 28 reviews.
A. O. Scott of The New York Times called it a “A slyly effective thriller and of a deft comedy of romantic confusion. Whatever its shortcomings as a consideration of globalization and its discontents, The Edukators succeeds brilliantly in telling the story of a man who falls in love with his best buddy’s girlfriend and doesn’t know what to do about it.” Los Angeles Times critic Carina Chocano concluded that it was “A sweet, funny and gripping romantic adventure, it’s about the limitations of political activism in this day and age, and what happens when your girlfriend and your best friend fall in love.” Jonathan Romney of The Independent also favoured the film “Hans Weingartner’s digitally-shot The Edukators wonders whether the old political idealism can be revived, but its gentle, trendily pallid vision of youthful ferment is strictly non-threatening – the Revolution with a Jamie Cullum haircut.”
In 2009, a statue stolen from Bernard Madoff was returned with a note that read “Bernie the Swindler, Lesson: Return stolen property to rightful owners” and was signed by “The Educators”. This is a reference to the film, although in the film they did not tend to steal from the houses they broke into.
In 2006, it was announced that Brad Anderson would adapt and direct a remake of the film set in the United States instead of Berlin.