Flick Crit: The Class

My latest film review on Cinema Takes:

The Class (Entre Les Murs) was up close and personal for me. The scenes in Laurent Cantet’s French language film took me back to the thousands of hours I spent teaching migrant students in very multicultural secondary schools in Australia.

If you’ve ever had much to do with adolescents, it is not hard to empathise with its main character François Marin (François Bégaudeau). He struggles to maintain order and purpose for his class of young teenagers whilst trying to create a flexible and humane classroom.

As indicated by the original French title, Between the Walls, this can be a very claustrophobic experience. His teaching space is tiny and sparse with none of the technological aides of 21st Century education. A visit to a fairly primitive computer lab is a refreshing if infrequent break from chalk, leaky ballpoint pens and exercise books. The walled, concrete playground is more like a prison exercise yard, a too-obvious visual metaphor.

Continued at: The Class: Up close and personal


6 Responses

  1. I’ll have to catch up w/ this someday. Much can be learnt from observing diverse teaching styles & methodologies.

    I was mesmerised by Laurence Cantet’s Time Out/L’Emploi du temps(2001).

    Well written renniek.

    Here’s some interesting feedback:



  2. Kevin, if they were speaking French then good luck to you. Try teaching classes who speak only Greek, Slav and assorted Asian languages (including various patois). And this was just Grade 4.

  3. nasking

    Thanks! The link was interesting. Just the sort of discussion that the book/film was meant to provoke. Socratic, perhaps.The teacher is not supposed to be a role model, the master of his art.

    Time Out is a very challenging story, especially with the growing unemployed. So many people define themselves by their work.

  4. Min

    Been there, done that, just not primary students. Some of my best ( and worst) memories.

  5. Min joke. I can understand most spoken French including some strong accents from Nauru indigenous people..although it’s decidedly tricky.

    A friend from Nauru who is a French descendent and so absolutely perfect accent pushed me into speaking. Bad, bad. I can understand it perfectly but I can’t speak it.

    Ok, gave it my best shot. I repeated a few embarrassed phrases. All sat perplexed. Eventually a question: Where did you learn to speak French? Ans: Canterbury Girls’ High School. Futher perplexation.

    To cut a long story somewhat shorter my French teacher was Madame Pusaloski. Problem solved, I was an Aussie speaking French with a Polish accent.

  6. “Time Out is a very challenging story, especially with the growing unemployed. So many people define themselves by their work.”

    Indeed. These will be interesting & challenging days renniek.

    I’ve been meaning to read your other reviews. Being a cinephile and all…well, at least I used to be…now I guess I’m more a DVDphile & PAYTV moviesphile…:)

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