Alphabet Austria, Germany 2013 – 113min.
A critical look at standardized education: children risk losing their powers of imagination when shaped for our competitive world.
Enormous classrooms, chalkboards covered with hieroglyphs, tired students, fiercely monitored exams and demotivated job applicants. Has education become mechanical? Erwin Wagenhofer asks hard questions about the education system. In his view, children should be encouraged to dream, develop their creative faculties and be stimulated positively. Unfortunately, the humanist vocation of the educator too often buckles under economic pressure. What happens to the submissive and faded people resulting from this system? A very black picture painted by the Austrian director.
Erwin Wagenhofer first gained attention with We Feed the World (2005) and Let's Make Money (2008): critical documentaries that ask real questions and often leave audiences perturbed. This is his last film in the globalization trilogy. He looks at people from around the globe, addressing researchers as well as pupils, teachers and artists. With dense and concentrated editing, one scene closely follows another, leading to the inevitable question: did he try to do too much?