Mr. Bachmann and His Class: 2022 Best Films (Documentaries)

In her documentary filmed during the 2016-2017 academic year, Maria Speth follows the title character, a charismatic sixth-grade teacher with a counterculture bent, and his mostly immigrant students in a German village north of Frankfurt.

Though we don’t learn a lot about the lives outside school, a few students come into special focus, nearly upstaging their teacher and contributing to the emotional richness of the film.

Unlike Black Jungle and other Hollywood movies, this isn’t a heroic-teacher drama about how to maintain idealism in the face of adversity.

Instead, it’s an acknowledgment of the hard work of learning, and the magic of simple decency.