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Playing at the 2013 Mead: And Who Taught You to Drive?

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Driving lessons become life lessons in this poignant and funny documentary, which follows three people trying to get local driver’s licenses in a foreign country.

Living in Japan, American Jake copes with the demands of his “renowned driving instructor” there and nearly impenetrable rules for driving. 

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Mirela, a German fashion designer transplanted to India, hazards the congested, chaotic streets of Mumbai.

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Hye-Won, a South Korean music student living in Munich with her husband and toddler, struggles with her insecurities under the sweet but stern tutelage of Herr Krieger. (“Krieger means warrior,” she thinks to herself.)

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Each of these protagonists illuminates the joys and frustrations of navigating new rules of the road, revealing along the way much about their adoptive homes and about themselves.

We learn of Jake’s desire to move beyond teaching English and odds job like stacking cardboard for cash to make a name for himself as an artist and graphic designer. Mirela is determined to build her clothing business taking advantage of the colorful fabrics in India. And, in the one heartbreaking twist in this lighthearted film, Hye-Won faces a wrenching personal choice when her husband is called back to serve in the South Korean army.

German-born and U.S.-based filmmaker Andrea Thiele was inspired by her own experience with driving tests in other countries, and she infuses her film with deft touches all-too-familiar to anyone who has ever struggled with the nuances of a second language—or quaked at the prospect of a driving test.  In the end, Thiele rewards the viewer with a delightful exploration of cultural difference and acceptance.

Watch the trailer.


Co-presented by the Asia Society, And Who Taught You to Drive? will make its New York premiere Sunday, October 20, at 6:30 pm. Buy tickets.

Read more Mead posts on the blog. 

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