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EUFF 15 Review: “Class Enemy” (2013) ★★★★★


It’s impossible to say what makes a person commit suicide. For many of us life is so precious that we enjoy every minute of it, while others think about it as a waste of time to spend even a second of it. And unfortunately, those who suffer from clinical depression see only one option to escape the emptiness of life filled with hopelessness and uselessness; by taking their own life. What made Sabina end her life is the question that this film won’t certainly be able to answer, however, if you look into the dark event that occurs after the tragedy, you will come to realize that the problem is much bigger than you can imagine. And of course, it is hidden in the system itself which somehow disregards the problems that could have been somehow avoided….

Class Enemy (original title Razredni sovraznik) is a powerful drama from Slovenian filmmaker, Rok Bicek, who masterfully tells the true events that occurred many years ago in Slovenia. Sabina is a quiet, and somewhat popular girl in her school. The class seems to enjoy their time in school until the moment when a new teacher of German takes over the class. Being a rigid teacher and uncompromising, Robert Zupan brings his own approach to the class that breaks the spirit of students. And one day, after talking with Sabina about her possible future, he asks her to open the dictionary and read the definition of “loser”. Shortly after, the girl runs away in tears, and next day, the class finds out that she killed herself. Angry and heartbroken, the class conducts its own protest against the teacher, who they blame for the death… But when they fail to find a solution, they start blaming each other for something nobody could have prevented.…

It is very interesting to see the director’s approach to an important topic such as suicide and how the school system reacts to it. But it also can be accepted and interpreted in many other ways. Despite having so many students who stand for their dearest friend, while they think she killed herself because of the pushy teacher, the real cause of it, you must remember, will never be given in the film. But rather, will leave it up to you to analyze the entire situation and come up with your own answer. The main mystery is, again, Sabina, who after her death becomes one of the most influential student leading the great protest against the entire school system and the teacher, whose method was found to be unacceptably harsh and disrespectful towards the students. But while the students try to find an answer, it appears that no one really knew Sabina that well, to recognize in her a person who can potentially commit suicide.

Even though the filmmaker tries to provide the viewer more complicated side of the story and the reason why or how the tragedy could have been prevented, one thing is certain: the scene when the teacher makes Sabina to accept herself as a ‘loser’ could have triggered something in Sabina’s mind that could have finally enabled her to take the final step. Again, the power of this film is not to find who is guilty in the death of the girl, but the school system that uses old methods of teaching, which could put anyone in depression, even a sane person. And that is what must never be overlooked, if we don’t want this repeated again….

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