2. ‘The Wave’
In 1967, a California high school teacher answered a question about whether the Holocaust could happen again by embarking on a two-week social experiment with his students that he called the Third Wave. The 2008 drama adapts those real events to the setting of modern Germany. Director Dennis Gansel charts how easy each step toward autocracy is on its own, forcing the audience to the same painful realization as the class—the Holocaust could be repeated. It is as simple and dangerous as the desire to belong. By indirectly addressing the adage of the Holocaust, to never forget, “The Wave” powerfully returns awareness to the human capability for violence and the need for constant vigilance. The film was unbelievably and incredibly successful in its domestic market, proving how willing Germany is to confront its demons.