Film Screening Ilker Çatak: The Teachers' Lounge

A woman sits in the middle of a room holding a tea mug. Other people sit before, to her left and stand behind her in the background. (The Teachers' Lounge) © Curzon

Wed, 29.05.2024

7:00 PM

Goethe-Institut London

Goethe-Kino (Kinovorführung)

In his multi-award-winning and Oscar-nominated feature film, Ilker Çatak directs a psychologically complex and tense drama about the search for truth, in which school becomes the mirror of a society in which everyone finds or creates their own truth. We pair this film with the DEFA film Karla, completed in the GDR in 1965, which also focuses on a teacher who comes into conflict with her school environment. Karla will be available for one week on our streaming platform Goethe on Demand.

Carla Novak has been a maths and physical education teacher at a grammar school for six months and is a class teacher in Year 7. She is committed and idealistic and gets on well with her pupils, trying to instil in them a sense of solidarity, justice and honesty. When several thefts occur at school and her colleagues press the class representatives, among others, to name the alleged perpetrators and search the wallets of the boys in her class, she is disapproves of these measures, which were decided without consulting her. Due to a chance observation, Carla finally develops her own suspicion and pursues it on her own, a fatal mistake, because in no time she has turned pupils, their parents and her colleagues against her. Desperate to defuse the situation, she comes under increasing pressure.

"It's about a system, a reflection of our society. School is a good playing field because it shows our society as a microcosm, as a model: there is the head of state, ministers, a press organ, the people ... But The Teachers’ Lounge deals with many different topics. A central aspect for me is finding the truth, the search for the truth or how one constructs the truth. The question of what you believe in is also posed. [...] Fake news, cancel culture or every society's need for a scapegoat - these are other topics." This is how director Ilker Çatak describes his film, in which he never takes his eyes off his main character, played by Leonie Benesch, whose concentrated performance makes her increasing tension totally palpable and won the prize for Best Female Lead at the German Film Awards 2023.

Germany 2023, colour, 94 mins. With English subtitles.
Directed by Ilker Çatak. With Leonie Benesch, Leonard Stettnisch, Eva Löbau, Michael Klammer, Anne-Kathrin Gummich, Kathrin Wehlisch, Sarah Bauerett, Rafael Stachowiak, Uygar Tamer, Özgür Karadeniz

About İlker Çatak

Ilker Çatak was born on January 11 1984 in Berlin. In 1996, he moved with his family to Istanbul, where he attended the embassy school. Following his graduation, he returned to Germany and gathered first-hand experiences working on film productions. In 2005, Çatak started to direct his own shorts, moreover he made commercials for companies like Allianz, Deutsche Telekom and Audi. Until 2010, he studied film direction at the Dekra Hochschule für Medien in Berlin. The following year, he received a writer scholarship from the Bayerische Rundfunk.
From 2012 until 2014, Çatak attended the Hamburg Media School, from which he graduated with a master degree. His student short Wo wir sind (2014) won a Max-Ophüls-Preis and made it on the shortlist of the Student Academy Awards. His graduation short Sadakat (2015) garnered the grand prize in the short competition of the Max-Ophüls-Preis Festival, a First Steps Award and a Student Academy Award.
The coming-of-age drama Es war einmal Indianerland (Once Upon A Time In Indian Country, 2017), an adaptation of the novel by Nils Mohl, marked Ilker Çatak's feature film debut as director. Two years later, Çatak's next film premiered at the Munich Film Festival: Es gilt das gesprochene Wort (I Was, I Am, I Will Be), about a German pilot who gets involved in a sham marriage with a much younger Turk, went on to win numerous awards.
In summer 2019, filming took place on Ilker Çatak's next feature film project, Räuberhände (Stambul Garden), a film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Finn-Ole Heinrich, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Gabriele Simon. The world premiere took place in April 2021 at the Lichter Filmfest, which was held online due to the COVID pandemic. However, the film was only shown to the festival jury. The premiere with audience participation took place in June 2021 at the Goldener Spatz children's media festival. In September 2021, Räuberhände was regularly released in cinemas, and in October Çatak's contribution to the TV crime series Tatort was broadcast, Borowski und der gute Mensch starring Axel Milberg.
Çatak's next film, Das Lehrerzimmer (The Teachers' Lounge), based on an original screenplay by him and Johannes Duncker, premiered in the Panorama of the 73rd Berlinale. The film was released in German cinemas in spring 2023 and entered the race for the German Film Award and won awards in   categories: Best Feature Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Editor and Best Female Lead. The film was also nominated for the Oscar for the best foreign language film. (Source: (edited))