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THE CLASS

Director: LAURENT CANTET

FRANCE • 2008 • SUBTITLED • COLOUR • ANAMORPHIC • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • DIGITAL • 128 MIN


Due to popular demand, The Class will return for 3 additional screenings on March 24th, 25th & 26th at 6.30pm.LAURENT CANTET’S CANNES PALME D’OR WINNER OFFERS AN INCISIVE REPORT FROM THE FRONTLINE OF THE EDUCATION SYSTEM, WHERE THE ONGOING CONFLICTS IN A SECONDARY SCHOOL FRENCH CLASS DRAW US INTO THE ISSUES FACING SOCIETY AT LARGE — SQUARING THE DECLINE IN RESPECT FOR AUTHORITY WITH THE CHALLENGES OF CULTURAL, RELIGIOUS AND ETHNIC INTEGRATION.
It’s very easy to make the film sound like some dry exercise in sociology, which it certainly isn’t, but neither is it a contrived or sugar-coated slice of Hollywood feel-good nonsense. Instead, inspired by a non-fiction bestseller by François Begaudeau (who also takes the key role of the much-hassled teacher), it shapes the documentary-style realities of the classroom into an utterly engrossing drama, showing how the ripple effects of miscommunication and disruptiveness can create life-changing ramifications for staff and students alike.
There are no preening teens from drama school here, since the cast came from the same suburban Parisian high school, and are more or less playing themselves after developing the script from workshop sessions. They’re smart, cheeky, touchy and totally believable, and they’re not always in the wrong. The course of events sees Begaudeau’s teacher justifiably attempting to maintain order, but also out of his depth in dealing with their diverse backgrounds, even losing his composure at a vital moment involving a particularly troubled pupil. It’s a complex picture, and although the film puts the spotlight on a disciplinary appeals procedure unduly weighted towards the punitive, there are certainly no easy answers on display — just burning compassion, mercurial humour and a fundamental recognition that these kids are our future. — Trevor Johnston.

This film was shot and will be screened in digital format.

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