52°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Buckle up and enjoy Andrea Thiele’s film ‘And Who Taught You to Drive?’

Mr.+Tetsuya+teaches+Jake+the+art+of+listening+to+ones+car.

Mr. Tetsuya teaches Jake the art of listening to one’s car.

Andrea Thiele’s charming documentary “And Who Taught You to Drive?” follows three individuals living in foreign countries as they try to obtain driver’s licenses. Hilarity quickly ensues as a seemingly simple task becomes a monumental challenge. An amusing commentary on culture, the film takes a lighthearted look at what it means to embrace difference.
The film opens in Mumbai, India with Mirela Sarnardzija, a fashion designer from Germany. For her, unrestricted mobility is a necessity as she must travel to locate textile suppliers. Frustrated by the unreliable public-taxi system, Mirela decides she would be better off with a driver’s license and a car of her own. After enrolling in driving lessons, she is thrust onto the chaotic streets of Mumbai with good-humored instructors Sharndev Tadrnali and Vinay Modak. Assertive and ambitious, she works to earn her license, build her business, and find inner peace along the way.
Jake Cates, an aspiring graphic designer from the United States, is living in Tokyo, Japan. Eager to dive into Tokyo’s nightlife, he embarks on a mission of mobile independence in the hopes of escaping the confines of public transportation. His instructor, the punctilious yet caring, Mr. Tetsuya, helps Jake prepare for the rigorous Japanese driving exam. Jake soon realizes that he is about to get more than what he bargained for as his first driving session begins with a detailed lesson on how to enter a car. The audience watches as an easygoing Jake struggles to acclimate to a culture in which precision, perfection and attention to detail are of the utmost importance.
Hye-Won Chung, a young music student from Korea, is living in Munich, Germany with her husband, son, and dog. Scarred by a car accident in Korea, Hye-Won is cautious but eager to get her German driver’s license. Christian Krieger, whom she calls Herr Krieger, serves as her driving instructor. He is a kind and knowledgeable man whose fatherly encouragement helps Hye-Won through her lessons and through her loneliness after her little family is temporarily separated by unforeseen circumstances.
These three stories reveal the hilariously heartwarming results of culture clashing. Miscommunications and cultural faux pas make for 84 minutes of delightful comedy. As the characters struggle to acquire licenses, their journeys become less about obtaining these pieces of paper and more about learning to bridge cultural gaps.
The film’s cinematic execution is excellent. From audio and image to composition and editing, the film’s cinematic elements are well chosen. The film feels modern and artistic, but in no way pretentious. Instead, the thoughtful cinematography serves to enhance the mood of the film. Some scenes contain silent, still shots that serve to create emotional depth. In other scenes, the camera lingers on awkward pauses just long enough to elicit a laugh from the audience. All of these elements work together to create an authentic and lively film.
Witty and entertaining, “And Who Taught You to Drive?” takes a task as mundane as learning to drive and uses it to explore a lesson much more profound. The film demonstrates that sometimes it is the smallest of things that tie us together. This intimate look at humanity and society will leave audiences with a warm appreciation for cultural variation.