February 14, 2022 by mcclainwa
In this scene of the film, Ich bin ein Elefant, Madam, there is an obvious theme of tension or at the very least difference between the different generations of the German people. The quick cut from a view of the schoolyard to a view of the teachers having a tea/coffee break displays the relative ‘chaos’ of the youth as opposed to the archaic conformity of the older generations. The time frame of the late 60s of the film means that the adults in this scene would have either been adults during the fascist regime of the Nazis or they would have been children with parents who were part of the regime. They are not entirely stuck in there ways but as seen in this scene even their break-time is marked by the structure and form of old Nazi uniformity. Not only are the clothes they wear similarly simple and colored, they even drink from their teacups at the exact same time, almost uncanny and chilling. The children in the courtyard are mingling and in colorful clothing while the adults stand in line with the architecture of the school building which would imply the school system and the adults within are still part of systems put in place by the Nazis, not having changed since the defeat of the Nazis. The medium angle, long shot of the faculty contrasted by the high angle long shot shot of the school kids shows the view the faculty has of the youth, they feel above them and do not seem to question if what they are clinging to is right or not. The inability to question their past is opposed to the mixed directions and mingling of the students. The youth are ready to learn and change Germany for the better while the old teachers seem to be stuck in their ways as they are stuck in the rigid vertical lines of the shot.