Club Zero -film directed by Jessica Hausner

This is an important film, unconventional and meant to be disturbing. 

It shows how an activist teacher Ms Novak, (played by the bland-faced Mia Wasikawa) grooms her teenage pupils and draws them into a cult. Claiming to teach "nutrition" she implants anorexic disorders into them, persuading them that the less they eat the better it is for the planet and their own bodies.

Her pretentious jargon about "conscious eating" and "autophagy" convinces the pupils that everything they have been told about the necessity of food is an illusion. She mixes in enough eco-evangelism, "mindfulness", and terms taken from psycho-therapy to make it all sound "woke" and progressive.

The film explores the ways in which a cult takes hold, offering adolescents a sense of belonging, and how the teacher uses praise and gestures of affection to manipulate the pupils. She teaches them to mistrust their parents and feel superior to everybody who is not in the cult. Factors like peer pressure also operate to manipulate those who question or want to leave. 

 Nothing could be more timely because our school system is now run by fanatics like Miss Novak, and they are not only teaching classes but training the teachers. Both state and private schools are taking orders from crazed extremists such as Ellie Barnes and Jordan Gray, teaching completely unscientific nonsense. Schools no longer teach debating or the need to scrutinize ideas. They encourage conformism and hand out the Kool-aid.

Why are parents so reluctant to question the rubbish that children are being taught in schools? Frankly many of them are too busy and others are too lazy. 

If this film succeeds in jerking some of them out of their complacency it will have done a lot of good.

Jessica Hausner

She studied filmmaking at the Vienna Film Academy and has been behind the camera for more than three decades, shooting films including Hotel (2004), Lourdes (2009), Amour Fou (2014) or Little Joe (2019).

Release date: March 22, 2024 (Spain)
Director: Jessica Hausner
Distributed by: Bac Films, Filmladen
Box office: $90,511
Music by: Markus Binder
Produced by: Philippe Bober; Bruno Wagner; Mike Goodrige; Johannes Schubert