Zappelphilipp (film)

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Original title Zappelphilipp
Country of production Germany
original language German
Publishing year 2012
length 90 minutes
Director Connie Walther
script Silke Zertz
production Magdalena Prosteder
music Benjamin Fröhlich , Florian Peter
camera Birgit Gudjonsdottir
cut Sabine Brose

Zappelphilipp is a German drama directed by Connie Walther from 2012 . It deals with dealing with lively children in school who are suspected of having attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder .


During the third year of school, the teacher Hannah Winter, who lives alone, has a new student, nine-year-old Fabian Haas. It quickly becomes clear that the boy is very lively. The other classmates are partly amazed, partly enthusiastic. Over time, however, it also becomes clear that his activities mean that school lessons can no longer be held in the usual form. The first parents ask questions and complain that Fabian disrupts the class. Hannah does not want to believe this and sees Fabian as an extraordinary boy who needs a lot of affection but no medication . She seeks contact with Fabian's mother, Miriam Haas, who is expecting a child together with her new partner. But even there she cannot get any precise information about why Fabian is so active.

Hannah now spends a lot of time with Fabian outside of school, which is met with incomprehension by both the parents and the school management. Some parents believe that Fabian has attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) that should be treated with medication. They are of the opinion that this is the only way to ensure regular school lessons. Fabian, on the other hand, is overwhelmed and finds support in a music group. The situation escalates when Fabian receives a slap in the face from another teacher : At the specially convened parents' evening, where the teacher is supposed to apologize to the parents, Fabian's mother is asked to go to a doctor with her son. Miriam is at first undecided, but after another argument with her partner, Fabian, takes her to a psychologist .

Hannah realizes that her fellow teachers are gradually favoring treatment for Fabian. The situation escalates further when Fabian injures a classmate with a stone. Miriam suffers lower abdominal pain and is taken to the hospital by her partner. Fabian seeks refuge with Hannah and the two go on a trip. Hannah has to realize, however, that Fabian led her to his birth father Andreas. He shows hardly any interest in the boy and so they drive back home. There they meet Fabian's mother, who blames Hannah for driving away alone with her son.

Hannah took sick leave for a few weeks and found out during a visit from a teacher colleague that Fabian, who was now receiving medication, was making great progress. In the final scene Fabian can be seen working in school. It remains unclear until the end whether he really suffers from ADHD.

The film is based on Thom Hartmann's ADD / ADHD hypothesis , according to which ADD / ADHD is an expression of an anthropological variant ("hunter"), which is hardly needed in society today (society of "collectors").


"A film without instructions for use - but with many real moments."

"A 'lesson' without a know-it-all."

"The excellently played and sometimes almost documentary drama describes how the educational system fails because of children who do not meet the norm."

“Connie Walther's film does without an inexpensive, harmonizing happy ending . The questions remain open, the viewer has to find his own answer. "

From a scientific point of view, the film recently received an “excellent conceptualization” of the “very complex” topic and a “high (s) aesthetic level”. Together with films such as The Conference and Good Morning, Mr. Grothe , the film makes "an important, educational contribution to a social discourse of high relevance". Like this one, it also belongs “as 'required reading' in the (...) introductory event for all those studying to be a teacher”.


The film was first broadcast on December 5, 2012 on ARD . Arte showed it on January 17, 2014. It ran on French television under the title L'enfant terrible .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Thom Hartmann : Another way of seeing the world , Lübeck 1997
  2. ARD school drama: Let him fidget! In: Spiegel Online . Retrieved January 18, 2014 .
  3. Fidget Philip. Retrieved January 18, 2014 .
  4. Film review of Zappelphilipp. Retrieved January 18, 2014 .
  5. Between tolerance and Ritalin. Retrieved January 18, 2014 .
  6. Günter Helmes: “I really thought that the job would suit me. But you know what: I can't stand children! ”Thoughts on newer and newest German-language television and feature films on the subjects of“ being a teacher ”and“ school ” . In: Günter Helmes, Günter Rinke (Hrsg.): Clever, clever, failed? The contemporary image of school and teaching in literature and media . Igel-Verlag, Hamburg 2016, ISBN 978-3-86815-713-0 , pp. 157-204, in particular pp. 184-195, quotation p. 203.