Another good choice from Waterford Film for All. The Class (or Entre Les Murs in French … don’t know where they got the translation from) is about a teacher in a French secondary school trying to reach out to a troubled and troublesome class of underprivileged kids.
The style of the film is quite unusual, in that you feel you are sitting in the class, the camera panning around the room as comments and chaos fly around the classroom. The dialogue is very fast in parts but is witty also. The actors who play the students are very good and the classroom scenes have a bit of improvisation in the dialogue which adds to the realism.
The Class / Entre Les Murs Film Overview
Teacher François Marin works as a teacher in a racially mixed inner-city high school in Paris. There is much discussion in the school staff room as teachers discuss good and bad students, hoping to inspire the weaker ones to do well. They discuss the best ways to motivate and discipline them, trying to be fair but appropriate. François Marin tries his best to talk to the students on their level to try to get through to them. He sometimes succeeds but also fails on occasion. He tries his best but has to admit that in a year’s time, it will be a different group with different issues and the cycle starts all over again.
Some reviews claim this is a feel-good film – I think, it could have been, but did not succeed. The film starts going in one direction, and you think you know where the film will end up, but I felt at the end it didn’t achieve its potential. It’s about 40 minutes too long, it has a weaker-than-expected conclusion (I don’t like films that just leave you hanging), and some loose ends were not resolved. Just because it has weak points does not mean I didn’t enjoy the majority of the film, it was entertaining and compelling in parts.
The Class was directed by Laurent Cantet and won the Palme d’Or at Cannes last year and was very unlucky not to get an Academy Award.