Teachers who caught 2002’s ‘Etre et Avoir’ will no doubt have been tempted into emulating M Georges Lopez’s compassion and restraint in their own classrooms. Melanie Pröschle (Eva Löbau) is the fictionalised version of one such teacher: a plucky idealist whose quietly passionate optimism serves in giving way to the insidious realities of school teaching. The title of the film alludes to Melanie’s blithe concern with the affectations of teaching and her dismissal of the requisite personality and composure. Living alone in an apartment complex, she quickly develops an awkward relationship with her neighbour, Tina, but is unruffled by their obvious lack of compatibility. Her agonising attempts at classroom control display a similar shortfall of judgement and her actions will force many to recoil behind their cinema seats. Eva Löbau’s lynchpin performance as Melanie is a shattering lesson in the tropes of timidity and awkwardness, and serves in taking this cinema of cruelty into as yet uncharted territory. Essentially though, this is a film about the nature of altruism and the crushing effects of loneliness, but should also be compulsory viewing for anyone considering signing up for Teacher Training. Heartbreaking.