By Arman T. RIAHI


Drama - Completed 2020

When Fuchs starts his new job as a teacher in a prison school, replacing the old and unconventional teacher Berger against her will, he is forced to confront his biggest fear, triggered by the mysterious, withdrawn inmate Samira.

& Awards

Warsaw FF 2020
Filmfestival Max Ophüls Preis 2021
Prize of the Youth Jury
Filmfestival Max Ophüls Preis 2021
Fritz-Raff Screenplay Prize
Filmfestival Max Ophüls Preis 2021
Best Director
Diagonale 2021
Opening film of the festival
Diagonale 2021
Thomas Pluch Special Jury Prize
Diagonale 2021
Diagonale Award Editing / Feature Film
Pula Film Festival 2021
    • Year of production
    • 2020
    • Genres
    • Drama, LGBT, Crime
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • GERMAN
    • Duration
    • 103 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Arman T. RIAHI
    • Writer(s)
    • Arman T. RIAHI
    • Producer(s)
    • Arash T. RIAHI, Karin C. BERGER
    • Synopsis
    • The ambitious middle school teacher HANNES FUCHS (39) is assigned to a prison school alongside the older prison schoolteacher ELISABETH BERGER (60) whose unconventional methods keep her inmate students busy and on their toes. For WEBER (54) the department commander of the juvenile detention wing, Berger and her art lessons are a major headache and a thorn in his side. He is convinced that she is a security risk.

      Fuchs is eager to prove himself a suitable prison teacher, but soon realizes that Berger won’t let anyone get too close. During Fuchs’ first-class supervision SAMIRA (16), an introverted Muslim girl, is sexually assaulted. After getting into a fight with a fellow inmate, she ends up in solitary confinement. Fuchs feels responsible and tries to find a way to make up for what he considers to be his mistake. He learns more about Samira’s fate from KETABI (35), the prison’s social worker. As Berger relegates him to making coffee, Fuchs looks to Department Commander Weber for support. Weber tries to put in a good word for Fuchs as Berger’s successor with VANICEK (60), the prison director. After spotting artful scribbling on Samira’s desk and his feud with stubborn Berger comes to a head, Fuchs provides Samira with paint to decorate her cell even though this is not allowed. He does this not only because of his guilty conscience towards Samira but also to show Berger her place.

      While Weber tries to pit both teachers against each other, Berger slowly makes Fuchs her accomplice and forces him to face any illusions he has about his responsibilities as teacher. In the meantime, a strong partnership develops between Samira and Fuchs, who continues to bring her art supplies. When new students seem to threaten the fragile balance of the class, Berger and Fuchs organize an excursion to the prison kitchen, which is a great success. For the first time, Berger and Fuchs work together as a team, but suddenly Berger faints and ends up in the hospital. She turns out to be very ill. A secret only Vanicek has known about. He confesses that he wanted Fuchs to take Berger's place so she can focus on getting better. Berger refuses to give up her position and to leave Fuchs in charge of the class.

      When Samira returns from solitary, she learns that her father has died due to her knife attack and hurts herself badly with one of the paintbrushes Fuchs brought her. Berger is then held responsible for this and both she and her art classes get suspended. Fuchs finds himself promoted to her position as official prison teacher. Fuchs struggles with the injustice of the decision. When Samira attempts suicide, old wounds are opened, and Fuchs is reminded why he became a teacher in a prison school in the first place. Together with the social worker Ketabi, they try to save the girl from her own demise. When Fuchs instructs the inmates alone for the first time, it comes to an inevitable confrontation between him and the class…