french films > The Class

The Class

The Class

The Class

cast: François Bégaudeau

year: 2008

colour: yes

certificate:

director: Laurent Cantet

runtime: 128

Based on teacher and author François Bégaudeau's book Entre les murs, this fully-wired observational tale of a term in one classroom at a Parisian junior high school came as an exhilirating, board-sweeping exception to more grandiose experiences in Cannes this year, where it was the outstanding candidate for, and winner of, the Palme d'Or. Bégaudeau himself plays a committed teacher of good intentions whose zeal to engage his mixed bag of adolescent pupils (of both sexes and from several races and religions) in language and literature sees him cross taboo boundaries. In reaction, one of his most promising pupils begins to slide deeper and deeper into trouble. Can the teacher save him from himself? Bégaudeau plays the role as if he'd been an actor of poise and passion all his life, and a winningly vibrant and cheeky cast of non-professional teenagers, drawn from school volunteers, are as sharp and funny and fierce as the script is acute. The film fizzes with so much energy and excitement that the end arrives before you know it, and for once, you really are left wanting more.

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