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‘CLASS ENEMY’

FILM ANALYSIS by Sindi G. – V LSU


The film ‘Class Enemy’ was directed by Rok Bicek and released in 2013, in Slovenia.

Even if the story focuses on a typical Slovenian class, the film was not created only for one peculiar
society, but extends its thought to many different kinds of societies. In fact, the director wants us
to focus our attention on some social problems that affect almost all the modern world.

The title itself reflects the content: the class is a ‘mirror’ of the world outside the school - a reality
full of injustice, where people are constantly in conflict with the so called ‘system’. The class in the
title is in conflict with the new German teacher: students and teachers in the school are not able
to find an explanation to the suicide of a girl, a shy and reserved classmate, Sabina, and all the
students lay their negative emotions on that strange and peculiar German teacher, who is so
different from the previous one... The whole class is afraid of facing reality and they find one
simple solution: put all the responsibility and all the blame on one person.

The story takes place in a Slovenian school and develops during the school year. In the opening
scene, the German teacher, Nusia, is introducing the new teacher, Robert Zupan to her class:
Nusia is expecting a baby, so she has to leave her students in Robert’s hands. Very soon, the class
notices that Robert is really strict and particularly demanding, as a teacher, and when Sabina kills
herself, the class sees the main reason for her decision in the strange and cold behaviour of the
new professor. The students start a personal fight against him and all the school system, and
slowly the story reaches its climax: Sabina’s best friend reads her essay in front of her classmates,
and they all are wearing a mask with Sabina’s face. This scene is the most important for me: a lot
of feelings and emotions come out, the students in the class hide their identity but they still
communicate, and this type of communication is the most powerful of the film. Some people
begin to realize that Sabina’s death was not caused by one factor only: many troubles were
affecting her.

The film ends with the scene of the class on a boat: they are on a school trip in Greece, and they
are all apparently happy, but we notice that the memory of Sabina is still alive in the form of a
ghost...

The director was able to create the right atmosphere and stimulate the public to think about the
meaning of the film: the use of colours is of paramount importance, and the use of yellow is
particularly thought-provoking. Yellow is present from the beginning to the end of the film as a
meaningful aspect of the author’s technique.

The mise-en-scene is also peculiar, because there are a lot of close-ups, and scenes with a
characteristic background music that is meant to increase tension.
From my point of view, the most important theme of the film is that of education: the world
outside is cruel, complicated, and the class is not prepared to face it. They used to have compliant
and understanding teachers, so when they meet the new professor - who is very strict, almost
“inhuman” in his cold and detached behaviour -, they are all scared, and build a sort of
metaphorical wall between them and the professor himself.

When Sabina commits suicide, students are so blinded by fury and by stereotypes that they
consider and label the German teacher a ‘Nazi’.

It is hard for an educator to work in a context of close-mindedness and conflicts, in a society full of
difficult situations and hypocrisy, but it is also true that the role of an educator - of a teacher - is
one of the most important ones. We are talking about a job that can change people and, if change
happens, can create new societies.

I really enjoyed watching and analysing this film: it was full of emotions, really impressive,
inspiring, though-provoking.

It is not the typical funny school story, but a kind of story that gives us a lot of “FOOD for thought”.