An Actress's Thoughts

Cleverer Girls

Cleverer School Girls?

School girls are better at school, they are more likely to skip a class than school boys, who often even have to repeat classes.
What do I base this premise on?
On an analysis of the age of students when they take their A-Levels (or rather the German equivalent, the Abitur). Male pupils are usually older than their female classmates, which means that they probably had to repeat a year or two, or maybe started school altogether a year or so late. So maybe they are not neccessarily more stupid, but just late bloomers who take longer to learn things. The female pupils on the other hand are really good at school and skip one or two classes on their way to the Abitur. Of course there are exceptions to the rules in both groups.
There are two contraints though: for one, this is not a theory for the 21st century. And on top of this, it only refers to fictional school graduates in film and television.

“Klassentreffen” is the German word for Class Reunion.

There are two new class reunion films out in Germany this year, KLASSENTREFFEN 1.0 – THE UNBELIEVABLE JOURNEY OF THE SILVERBACKS (Barefoot Films, cinema start Sept. 20) and the TV movie KLASSENTREFFEN that was shot in only two days (produced by Die Film GmbH for WDR TV, so far no date of transmission). I‘ve taken this as a reason for having a look at class reunion films, or more precisely, at the ages of those playing the former students in them. I‘ve seen some of the films, some quite a while back. The roles in my statistics are only characters of which I am sure that they were former students.
Therefore, so far I have only taken three male ex-graduates into account for the film KLASSENTREFFEN 1.0. I haven‘t seen the film yet and also haven‘t managed to find out which other former classmates the three friends meet in the end, when they finally get to the reunion. Should I know more I will add the data to this article. By the way, the film is based on the Danish comedy KLASSEFESTEN, which I haven‘t seen either, so there I am also only looking at three roles so far.
So here‘s my first list of class reunions in (mainly German) films. In brackets you can see the average age of the students at the time they graduated – which in Germany would have been after 13 years (MV = mean value). I will add more class reunion films when I come across them.

FÜR IMMER JUNG / FOREVER YOUNG (TV. 1990). Director Vivian Naefe.
Graduation 15 years ago. 3 female (MV 17), 4 male students (MV 20.5). oldest: Michael, hotel owner (26).

Graduation 15 years ago. 3 female (MV 17.5), 4 male students (MV 26). oldest: Wolfi, journalist (27).

KLASSENTREFFEN / CLASS REUNION (TV. 2004). Director Marc Hertel.
Graduation 15 years ago. 2 female (MV 19.5), 4 male students (MV 17.5). oldest: Tanja (23).
Incidentally, Bert who is described as ,The Loser‘ is the youngest of them all, he graduated when he was 15.

Graduation 30 years ago. 2 female (MV 14.5), 3 male students (MV 22). oldest: Stefan (23) and Peter (23).

KLASSEFESTEN (DK 2011) Director Niels Nørløv Hansen.
Graduation 25 years ago. 3 male students (MV 17.7) oldest: Thomas (19).
(In Denmark pupils graduate after 12 years at school, when they are 18).

KLASSENTREFFEN 1.0 / CLASS REUNION 1.0 (2018). Director Til Schweiger.
Graduation 30 years ago. 3 male students (MV 21.3). oldest: Thomas, DJ (24).

KLASSENTREFFEN / CLASS REUNION (TV. 2018). Director Jan Georg Schütte.
Graduation 25 years ago. 8 female (MV 18.9), 9 male students (18.7), oldest: Marion (23).

Well, these age differences are not as bad as they were between the two leads in KEINOHRHASEN / RABBIT WITHOUT EARS (2007), Ludo (Til Schweiger) and Anna (Nora Tschirner) who were supposed to have been at school together, and in real life there are 17 ½ years between them. But still, the male ex-classmates are overall older than the females, and also there are more of them in the main casts.
Of course it would be appropiate now to speculate on the reasons for this gender imbalance, and more so for the age differences, but since I can‘t possibly imagine that those responsible think that female peers have to be younger than the men, and that you can‘t have 45-year old women on the screen, I can not come up with anything other than that it must be coincidental or thoughtless or simply a bad habit. Like smoking. Which isn‘t healthy either.
And after 28 years I think it may be time for another class reunion film directed by a woman (on my list, Vivian Naefe was the last one).

But to end on a more positive note: the next class reunion film (directed by Jan Georg Schütte) might be quite interesting, there was no script, only profile notes for the character, and the scenes were mainly improvised. And from an empirical point of view: the reunion was quite gender balanced and on average all students graduated after the customary 13 years. Well done!


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