Opening 16 May 2019
As the streams of refugees cross the border into various countries of Europe, many of us have no idea of the hardships that face the children of these families. This brilliant short-documentary explores the realm of one German classroom with an extraordinary teacher. Ute Vecchio’s classroom puts a face on the problems that these kids have to overcome before they are allowed to attend the “normal” German classroom. It begins with a barrier starting with the language which includes both writing and speaking skills. Many of the children have been schlepped through four or five countries before they arrived in Vecchio’s classroom. Many of them have acquired a mishmash of languages and are illiterate. This doesn’t even include all the different subjects that they need to learn before they graduate.
The most extraordinary force in this film is the will of Ute Vecchio. She is everyone’s dream teacher. No matter how hard the circumstances are, she is right there helping them go through the process. It doesn’t mean that each student will make it, but she makes clear guidelines, demonstrates discipline, and tries to give them reasonable goals that they can achieve something. If there were more extraordinary teachers like her, then more children would have a bright future.
German director Florian Heinsen-Ziob and camera-man Enno Endlicher have created a film that has already won several awards and, in my opinion, should be shown in every classroom in Germany. This film promotes tolerance, discipline, and reaching out to help others. (Shelly Schoeneshoefer)