The Wave


Based on Morton Rhue's classic youth novel which has been required reading material in many German schools for years, The Wave is a work of fiction, but one based in fact: the original experiment was conducted by history teacher Ron Jones at Cubberley High School in Palo Alto, CA in 1967. With the setting updated to contemporary German, a high school teacher (Jürgen Vogel) comes up with an experiment in order to explain to his students how totalitarian governments work. A role-playing game with tragic results begins. Within a few days, what began with harmless notions like discipline and community builds into a real movement: The Wave. By the third day, the students start ostracizing and threatening others. When the conflict finally erupts into violence at an intramural water polo game, the teacher decides to break off the experiment. But it's too late. The Wave is out of control...THE WAVE premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

EXCLUSIVE: Dennis Gansel Talks ‘The Wave’ and ‘We Are the Night’

Director Dennis Gansel is a name most American audiences aren't familiar with, although I believe they really should be. The filmmaker made his feature debut with Girls on Top in 2001, which he followed up with the critically acclaimed Before the Fall. His two latest films, The Wave and We Are the Night, are now available in America for the first time through IFC Films' video-on-demand platform, with We Are the Night already available and The Wave hitting VOD on June 8. Both films are truly remarkable and, despite the German language and settings, have undeniable appeal to Americans.

The Wave is based off the infamous 1967 high school experiment by teacher Ron Jones in Palo Alto, California, which started after a student inquired about the Nazi regime during World War II. The teacher enlisted a series of extreme disciplinary measures, which the students surprisingly reacted positively too, although the experiment rapidly spiraled out of control. His group, entitled The Third Wave, shunned those against the group, even resorting to violence before the experiment was halted after five days. The Wave takes the same basic principles used in the experiment and sets the story in present-day Germany, with a rebellious teacher, played by the incredible Jürgen Vogel, whose experiment goes wildly out of control in truly fascinating ways.

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