Film Info: Wald vor lauter Baeumen, Der

Forest for the Trees, The (Wald vor lauter Baeumen, Der)

Full of idealism, Melanie, a young teacher from the countryside, starts her first job at a high school in the city. The daily school routine soon catches up with her, her idealism is challenged, things are much tougher than she had imagined. Apart from one colleague, Thorsten, who does his best to make her feel welcome, she has little contact with the rest of the staff, who are all much older and not really interested in new teaching methods.

When she gets to know her neighbor Tina, she seems to get in touch with her new surroundings. But her expectations are not fulfilled as quickly as she would hope. And the more Melanie tries to become Tina’s friend, the more Tina starts to hide. The forest surrounding Melanie starts to close in. Melanie begins desperately running in the wrong direction.

The Forest for the Trees starts out as an entertaining, well-observed story about an irritatingly over-enthusiastic young woman, but ends as a tragic portrait of a desperate human being.


Maren Ade studied at the University of Television & Film (HFF/M) in Munich. Together with Janine Jackowski, she founded the production company Komplizen Film in 2000. Also active as a producer, her award-winning films as a director include: the shorts EBENE 9 (2000) and VEGAS (2001), and the features THE FOREST FOR THE TREES (DER WALD VOR LAUTER BÄUMEN 2003), EVERYONE ELSE (ALLE ANDEREN, 2009), and TONI ERDMANN (2016).
Genre Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 2003
Director Maren Ade
Screenplay Maren Ade
Cinematography Nikolai von Graevenitz
Heike Parplies
Ina Siefert, Nellis Du Biel
Claudia Schoelzel
Cast Robert Schupp, Heinz-Roeser Duemming, Martina Eckrich, Nina Fiedler, Hans Ruediger Kucich, Ruth Koeppler, Achim Enchelmaier, Monika Hirschle, Ilona Schultz, Jan Neumann, Daniela Holtz, Eva Löbau, Volker Jeck
Producer Janine Jackowski
Production Company Komplizen Film, in co-production with SWR, KaufmannWoebke/Munich, Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film München (HFF/M)/Munich
Length 81 min
Original Version
 German
Subtitled Version English
Sound Technology Dolby SR
Festivals Hof 2003, Ophuels Festival Saarbruecken 2004, Cologne Conference 2004, Student Film Festival Munich 2004, Toronto 2004 (Discovery), Vancouver 2004, Seoul 2004, Buenos Aires 2005, San Francisco 2005, Sydney 2005, Sundance 2005 (In Competition), Goteborg 2005, BAM NY 2005, Los Angeles 2005, Newport 2005, Rio 2005, Taipei 2005, Thessaloniki 2009, Melbourne 2016
Awards Best Film Cologne 2004, Media Prize Babelsberg 2004, Special Jury Prize Sundance 2005, Grand Jury Prize IndieLisboa 2005, Best Film & Best Actress Newport 2005
With backing from German Federal Film Board, FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, MFG Baden-Württemberg
German Distributor Timebandits Films/Potsdam

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