“Edukating” Pop: Hans Weingartner’s Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei and the Legacy of ’68 in Contemporary Germany

Margaret McCarthy


Against the backdrop of the Spaßgesellschaft of the late 1990s and critiques of the student movement’s continuing impact forty years later, Hans Weingartner’s film Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei [The Edukators] (2004) attempts to foster identification with political activism in a global context. Despite pronounced differences between G-8 Summit protesters and the contented prototypes of Pop novels, the film joins historical ideals with a postmodern sensibility that taps into a contemporary Zeitgeist. Intertextuality, above all with the Wachowski brothers’ film The Matrix, provides the means with which utopian ideals—writ large as an escape to an outside space beyond the structures that shape identity—can be coupled with political activism. By breaking into expensive villas and piling up, rather than stealing the possessions they find, the film’s three leads tap into the roots of a postmodern aesthetic consisting of collage forms. Similarly, by hacking into computerized surveillance technology, they scramble the system and suggest ways for transforming human copies into a more fully conscious selfhood. In the process, Weingartner demonstrates how Pop’s playfulness and political activism can be joined in powerful, effective ways. (MM)

This article requires a subscription to view the full text. If you have a subscription you may use the login form below to view the article. Access to this article can also be purchased.

Purchase access

You may purchase access to this article. This will require you to create an account if you don't already have one.